Council recognised at Pontefract Civic Society Design Awards
Cllr Jacquie Speight accepts the Heritage Award
Wakefield Council has won the Heritage Award for the new visitor centre at Pontefract Castle at the Pontefract Civic Society Design Awards.
The prestigious award was accepted on behalf of the Council by Cllr Jacquie Speight from Paul Cartwright, chairman of the society. Cllr Speight, Wakefield Council's Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said after the event: "I am delighted to accept this award which is hugely deserved for all the hard work that has been put in and recognises a newly designed or significantly altered building enhancing Pontefract's heritage.
"Some of the restoration work was painstaking and I'd like to thank all those involved for creating this fantastic visitor centre whilst at the same time staying true to its historic routes."
The visitor centre was the first part of the £3.5million Key to the North project to be completed. The objective was to bring back into use through restoration and conservation the dilapidated timber Victorian barn, to include new high quality facilities.
Traditional craftsmanship was combined with modern techniques to create a centre that is true to its historic roots while providing 21st century comforts such as double glazing, under-floor heating and Wi-Fi.
The visitor centre offers visitors accessible facilities including a museum space, retail area, education and learning space and toilets and baby changing facilities.
The THI accept their Special Commendation Award
The Council also won a Special Commendation award on the night, in recognition of its Pontefract Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). This award is given to a specific property, owner/tenant, organisation or person, in recognition of the motivation and work given to enhance a property or public space.
Further to the Council's award, buildings that had funding support from the THI received awards too.
Cllr Pat Garbutt, chair of the Pontefract THI Board, said: "This award acknowledges the success of this project and all the hard work involved. This specialised work has safeguarded and enhanced so many important historic buildings in the town centre.
"It means future generations can come and enjoy Pontefract's rich heritage as the conservation works have helped to improve the town centre for businesses, residents and visitors."
The THI scheme set out to preserve 27 historic buildings in Pontefract and was completed last year.
The £1.5m programme was jointly funded by Wakefield Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the THI targeted dozens of buildings in need of specialist work to protect architectural and historic features for future generations.
The rest of the work taking place at the castle is due to be completed in early Spring. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and EpaC.