Plans for major heritage project in Upper Westgate
A new £4.4m project could
revitalise an historic part of Wakefield and boost investment in the local
By protecting older buildings,
creating new jobs and attracting new small and medium businesses to the area,
the major scheme could help to breathe new life into the heart of the city.
The plan is to create a
Heritage Action Zone in upper Westgate to provide a focus for reviving the area
over four years. Specialist conservation work would ensure that Georgian and
Victorian buildings of historic interest are protected, as well as preserving
surviving medieval street patterns and yard areas.
The project is part of
Wakefield’s new economic strategy which includes the goal of finding new ways
to repurpose the city and the district’s town centres in response to changing
shopping habits and working patterns and to attract investment.
Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet
Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration at Wakefield Council, said: “This
is an exciting project, which would support our long-term goals, deliver
community and economic benefits to this part of the city. Re-purposing historic
buildings would help improve perceptions of this part of the city and encourage
businesses to locate into the city centre. It would also create new jobs that
would help to reduce poverty and provide support to local communities.”
The project would be funded by
a £1.9m grant from Heritage Action Zone, £0.6m from the private sector and
£1.9m of match funding from the Council. This funding would create a grant
scheme to be used by building owners to restore and restate architectural
details of historic buildings, improve shopfronts and undertake repairs to
buildings’ brickwork, roofs, drainpipes, warehouse hoists and windows.
It could also offer grants for
owners to bring buildings’ vacant floor space into use for occupation by new
businesses or residents, with the purpose of increasing footfall to support
Westgate’s vitality and vibrancy.
Involving local art and
community groups is planned to be a feature of the Heritage Action Zone and
would see a series of art, cultural and community events designed to engage
Wakefield’s residents in activities which celebrate Westgate and its heritage.
Members of Wakefield’s
Cabinet, are meeting on January 14 at 10.30am at Wakefield Town Hall and are
being asked to approve the project, which would start in late spring. The
meeting can be watched live or
later on the Council’s website.