Councillors commit to the future of Wakefield’s high streets

19/12/2018, PR8952

Wakefield high street
Wakefield high street

Wakefield Councillors have today outlined their support to boost the future of high streets across the district.

At the meeting of Full Council, councillors have agreed to work with the private sector to develop a compelling bid to secure a share of the recently announced £675m Future High Streets Fund for the district.

The Council has also confirmed its support for a ‘Wakefield High Street Summit’ event to bring together retailers, property owners and other interested parties to set out a vision and agree an approach to revitalising Wakefield’s city and town centres.

Cllr Peter Box CBE
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council

Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We have today outlined our commitment to boosting our city and town centres and will do all we can to help secure funding for Wakefield from the Future High Streets Fund.

“We need to be proactive and take a concerted response to the issues faced by our high streets, so that we are in the strongest position possible to revive and repurpose our town and city centres to deliver on our aspirations for the district.

“By holding a ‘High Street Summit’ we can all work together to respond to the shared challenges faced by our town and city centre businesses.”

The recommendations approved today, support the Council’s ambitious five year district plan to boost economic growth. The plan aims to position a ‘world class’ Wakefield at the centre of Britain’s economy, to create ‘successful business, successful people and successful places’ in the district.

The district’s new economic plan wants to bring new companies that complement the existing businesses in the area – with millions of pounds invested to create good quality employment at all levels for all residents.

Recent announcements such as Chanel 4’s decision to locate to a new base at Leeds is one such opportunity noted, as there will be demand for studio, retail and creative space – which Wakefield is in a strong position to accommodate, particularly at emerging developments such as Rutland Mills.

The report also highlights how these recommendations will be considered as part of the Council’s Local Plan process, providing a timely opportunity to feed into a framework for delivering these schemes to revitalise the city and town centres.

The draft plan, which will go out to public consultation in the New Year, sets out how the district will develop until 2036 to ensure residents’ needs are met in areas such as new jobs, housing, retail, education and the environment.

The Council will now work on an initial application to the Future High Streets Fund, to be submitted by spring next year. If successful in its bid, the Council would look to use to the funding to maximise opportunities to cater for the growth of online retail, demand for fulfilment centres, retail warehouses and collection facilities.

The Full Council is still available to watch on the Council’s website at
www.wakefield.gov.uk/livestream

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