Wakefield high street awarded Government funding

17/09/2019, PR-9179

Westgate
Westgate

​Wakefield Council has been allocated a minimum of £1.1million from a Government spending pot to revive historic buildings along Upper Westgate.

The Council will also be providing up to £1million in match funding to support the scheme.

The investment is part of the Heritage Action Zone programme, run by Historic England (HE), and can be used for essential repair works to buildings to bring them back to their former glory, repurposing historic streets with the aim of breathing new economic vitality and promoting commercial investment.

These will include a number of buildings and streets within the Upper Westgate Conservation Area. This area includes some of the city's finest historic buildings and reflects Wakefield's historic medieval street patterns. The Council has now been invited to work with HE to develop detailed proposals which will be decided upon by January 2020.

Cllr Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery

​Cllr Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: "High streets up and down the country are under pressure as consumer habits change and this funding is a welcome boost to help us revive the Westgate area of the city.

"I'm excited to see what the historic buildings can be turned in to and I hope that they can help breathe new life into Wakefield's high street."

Historic England's Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson, said: "Our high streets are the beating hearts of our communities. Many have roots that go back hundreds of years. Their historic buildings and distinctive character tell the story of how our towns and cities have changed over time. They are places where people come together to socialise, shop, run businesses and be part of their local community, but now they face an uncertain future.

"Through physical improvements and cultural activities, we will work with partners to find new ways to regenerate our high streets. It is a challenge, but with our experience and track record, as well as the knowledge and passion of local councils, businesses and community groups our historic high streets can be thriving social hubs once more."

The Council will now work with Historic England on a Programme Design to identify what needs to be done and once this is completed, the final grant figure will be awarded in Spring 2020.

Wakefield is one of 69 towns to be allocated funding from the £95million pot of funds to revive the historic high street.

The initiative will be funded by combining £40million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport's Heritage High Street Fund with £52million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's Future High Street Fund. £3million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

The announcement follows Wakefield successfully making it through to the next round of bids to secure a proportion of the £1billion Future High Streets Fund and the invitation for Wakefield and Castleford to apply for part of the £3.6billion Towns Fund.