Wakefield in line to receive ‘huge cash boost’ to high street

The future: Wakefield Council's bid for cash has reached the next stage and, inset, Coun Peter Box.
The future: Wakefield Council's bid for cash has reached the next stage and, inset, Coun Peter Box.

Wakefield is in line to net a share of government cash to boost its high streets and shape the development of the city centre.

As it stands Wakefield Council has been granted up to £150,000 to spend on improving the centre as part of its bid for Future High Streets Fund cash – a total of £650m the government will allocate.

Wakefield Council Cabinet meeting.'Peter Box

Wakefield Council Cabinet meeting.'Peter Box

Leader of Wakefield Council Peter Box said: “To secure part of the pot from the Future High Streets Fund would be a huge boost in shaping our vision for the future of the high streets across our district.

“The Future High Streets Fund is the government accepting that councils need some extra investment and support in light of the nationally documented issues around our high streets.

“We have got through to the next round of the bid by showing we have a clear vision to tackle those problems in Wakefield.”

Earlier this year the Express asked readers what changes they want to see in our city centre survey. In the hundreds of replies we received you told us that fixing our struggling high streets was crucial.

Empty shop units, the future of markets in the city, and the lack leisure activities were among the issues you picked out. Since then we shared what you told us with Wakefield Council, a high street summit was called to look at the options, and retail expert Bill Grimsey gave a talk to councillors.

The council is currently working on a masterplan for the city centre and it is hoped that money from the Future High Streets Fund could help make it possible.

Out of 300 bids nationally, Wakefield Council is one of 50 bids that has made it through to the next round

Wakefield BID chairman Graham Howarth said: “Making it to phase two of the government’s Future High Street fund is a major step forward towards securing some game changing funding for Wakefield city centre.

“Working with public and private sector partners, Wakefield Council pulled together an excellent application and we will now all work together to create a plan for the city centre that will form the final application for final multi-million pound funding from the government.”