Work to regenerate Westgate in Wakefield city centre underway

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Work is ongoing to restore historical buildings in Wakefield city centre.

Representatives from Historic England and Wakefield Council, which are jointly working on the project, accompanied the Wakefield MP Simon Lightwood on a visit.

The two organisations have invested nearly £4million to breathe new life into the historic area.

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Mr Lightwood said: “Wakefield’s streets have a distinct, historical style. It was great to see the work that Wakefield Council and Historic England have done to conserve, preserve and restore heritage buildings in the Upper Westgate area.

Visit to the regeneration zone. Simon Lightwood, far rightVisit to the regeneration zone. Simon Lightwood, far right
Visit to the regeneration zone. Simon Lightwood, far right

“It’s wonderful to see the work that has been done to bring the past back to life, and to improve the appearance of some of our streets.”

Established in April 2020, Wakefield Upper Westgate High Street Heritage Action Zone is a four-year programme, which is focused on reinvigorating neglected historic buildings and bringing them back into full use for the local community.

During his visit Mr Lightwood was shown several completed and in-progress projects including the restored Woolpacks former pub and yard, and the reinstatement of traditional stone setts to Cheapside, Carter Street and Thompsons Yard.

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He also visited 6-8 Silver Street, The Black Swan, to see the exposed timber frame of the significant Grade II-listed Tudor building.

Historic England’s Architectural investigators discovered the astonishingly well-preserved façade, which has been dated to around 1600, making it one of the oldest timber-framed buildings in Wakefield.

The project also includes the Grade-II listed Unity Hall.

Richard Butterfield, Partnerships Team Leader, North East and Yorkshire Region, said: ‘‘We were delighted to show Simon Lightwood MP how Historic England’s investment in Westgate is working to restore the historic character of one of Wakefield’s oldest streets.”

Coun Denise Jeffrey, Wakefield Council, said: “The progress we are making to restore the area is fantastic.

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"We are really proud of our heritage and to see it come back to life is a great achievement for everyone involved.

The historic area will be an asset to local communities and draw visitors to our city centre. In partnership with Historic England we are preserving our building for future generations, as a reminder of our history.”