Work starts on Wakefield’s historic Crown Court building

25/06/2018, PR8831

old Crown Court
The former Crown Court building, Wakefield

A £1million project gets underway this week (25 June) to repair the structural damage on one of Wakefield’s oldest and most historic landmarks – after years of neglect under private ownership.

Contractors have started on site at the former Crown Court building on Wood Street and will be repairing its shell to make sure it is waterproof and weather tight. Renovation work will also take place inside to make the interior safe.

The old Crown Court building is a key part of the Wakefield Civic Quarter Regeneration Area. This is an important historic area of the city and its transformation is a key priority for the city and the Council. Wakefield Council has been actively marketing the site and is in talks with interested developers.

Wakefield Council was forced to step in to safeguard the structure of the building after its previous owners abandoned it in an unsafe state, and is now planning for its restoration and conversion that will create high quality development and new employment opportunities in the city centre.

Cllr Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Skills, said: "This is a Grade II* listed building and is a key part of Wakefield's heritage. We are committed to restoring this important historic building so that it can be redeveloped and brought back into use.

"Previous owners had destroyed the building to a point where it became unstable. We have stepped in to make the building safe but now we need to invest in the building's future to help us secure a developer to fully repair and restore it.

"The former Crown Court building is key to the regeneration of the civic area, especially Wood Street. By protecting this listed building, and carrying out repair works to its shell, we can help to make sure it is an attractive prospect for future development.

“We hope it will act as a catalyst attract high quality redevelopment into the heart of the city, bringing with it new employment opportunities."

The former Crown Court Building is a grade II* listed building and the oldest civic building in Wood Street. It was built in 1810 although was later extended. It was in use as a court building until its closure in 1992 and was sold by the HM Courts to the private sector in 1994. Despite plans to restore and convert the premises by the previous owners, little work was undertaken, resulting in the building continuing to deteriorate.

The severe deterioration of the building resulted in it being placed on the Historic England's "at risk" register in July 2013. The Council acquired the property, made it safe and after assessing the severity of damage has been able to finally begin the essential repair work.

The work is expected to be completed by early Spring 2019.

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