Unity House culture plan

Chris Hill from Shine who are looking to take over Unity House
Chris Hill from Shine who are looking to take over Unity House

NEGOTIATIONS are continuing over plans to turn Wakefield’s historic Unity House into a cultural centre.

Unity House Cooperative wants to create a music venue and conference facility in part of the 100-year-old building on Westgate.

The cooperative, formed by members including Leeds-based community interest company Shine and Wakefield Theatre Royal, is in discussions with the current owners over the sale of the building.

If successful, the group plans to launch a public share issue to raise £150,000 to help finance the project, which would occupy two floors of Unity House.

Chris Hill, Shine’s director of development, said people who bought shares of £200 or more would own the building and would have voting rights at the cooperative’s annual general meeting.

Mr Hill said: “We want to re-create Unity Hall as a premier music venue and creative business and conferencing centre. I am please to say that things are coming together.”

The redevelopment would echo the building’s early days, when it was opened in 1902 for the people of the city by Wakefield Wholesale Co-operative Society.

It has stood empty in recent years.

The Unity House owners are also in talks with a pub chain which may take over another section of the building.