New Wakefield High Street Task Force to be launched
A High Street Task Force made up of key local stakeholders will meet for the first time next week to shape the future of Wakefield city centre.
The High Street Task Force was a commitment made by Wakefield Council Leader Cllr Peter Box CBE at the High Street Summit in March, which brought together a wide range of partners from over 60 organisations who shared ideas on how to revive and improve the district's city and town centres.
The Task Force was also a recommendation of the highly respected retail expert Bill Grimsey who visited Wakefield in April. Grimsey also told councillors that Wakefield needs a masterplan to take it through to 2050 and to think about the vision not the money.
Key stakeholders will form the group, meeting for the first time on Monday 24 June, and will include representatives from the Council, Wakefield College, New River, Orion, Cathedral, Wakefield BID, West Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Youth Parliament, The Hepworth and West Yorkshire Police.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "Our high streets play a pivotal role in encouraging people to live, visit and invest in the district and so the High Street Task Force is vital in ensuring Wakefield prospers. Town centres are at the heart of our Economic Strategy and we need to invest wisely and work with our partners to make changes that will benefit the generations to come.
"It is an exciting opportunity to bring together a diverse range of experts to set out our vision for the future and to agree an approach which will revitalise our district. I look forward to seeing the outcome of this first meeting."
The aim of the group is to provide a strategic approach to growth across the high streets throughout the Wakefield district and providing one voice to drive forward the revitalisation of the district.
Their knowledge and expertise will be used to direct regeneration plans and future developments to ensure they are suitable for Wakefield's future. A new city centre masterplan is currently being developed which will guide all future developments and build on the vision which was agreed at the summit in March.
The Task Force will then oversee any future funding bids and help deliver the vision, with the initial focus on the city centre and then using lessons learned to shape the towns across the district.
Wakefield will shortly find out if they have been successful in the first stage of the Future High Streets Fund, a £675million government fund which is aimed at transforming high streets and town centres, and if successful the new High Street Task Force will be key to guiding the completion of the application.