Redbeck Motel: Civic society against plan to demolish ‘literary significant’ business over links to Yorkshire novelist

A civic society has objected to plans to demolish an ‘iconic’ cafe and motel over its links to a series of books by a Yorkshire-born novelist.

Parish councillors have also publicly opposed proposals to knock down the Redbeck Motel, in Crofton, near Wakefield, to make way for 90 new homes. More than 180 objections have been made since a planning application was submitted to Wakefield Council in January.

A developer is seeking outline permission to demolish the premises to build houses on surrounding greenbelt land. Concerns have been raised over the loss of a “local treasure” and the pressure the development put on local infrastructure.

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Wakefield Civic Society described the building as having “literary significance” due to its links to the Red Riding novels by author David Peace.

Plans have been submitted to demolish the Redbeck Motel to build 90 houses. Image: Johnson MowatPlans have been submitted to demolish the Redbeck Motel to build 90 houses. Image: Johnson Mowat
Plans have been submitted to demolish the Redbeck Motel to build 90 houses. Image: Johnson Mowat

The Redbeck is featured in the four-book series, set between 1974 and 1983, which have the Yorkshire Ripper murders as their background.

Kevin Trickett, president of the society, said: “Redbeck figures strongly in the Red-Riding Quartet by David Peace, later made into a three-part Channel 4 series. This association gives it a recent historical, literary significance and this is likely to increase in the future.

“David Peace, best known for The Damned United, is one of the leading Yorkshire novelists of the past thirty years.”

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Mr Trickett also raised concerns about the loss of woodland if the application is approved.

He added: “The Redbeck cafe and motel is very clearly a local community asset and should not be demolished for that reason alone. The Local Plan housing targets can be easily met without using the site.”

Crofton Parish Council objected after meeting to discuss the plans.

A letter to the council from parish clerk Rebecca Maindonald said: “Councillors agreed that they had been made aware of significant concern in the community concerning this application.

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“Having already been subject to development in the recent past, the amenities in Crofton were struggling to deal with additional capacity, which would only get worse. There was currently strain on the doctors, schools, dentists and transport links in the village.

“Councillors were also extremely concerned about the loss of jobs, once the Redbeck cafe and motel closed. They were also concerned about the loss of a community asset. Ultimately, councillors feel that they could only support development in Croftonnif it was for the betterment of the community.”

Renowned for its breakfast special, the Redbeck was established in 1969 and is open 24 hours a day.

Popular with locals as well as HGV drivers, the motel’s website states: “Redbeck Motel has become a Yorkshire and national institution, you can travel the four corners of the country and someone is sure to know the Redbeck.”

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But plans submitted the local authority say the business has become “unviable” and a developer has bought the site. Yorkshire Choice Homes wants to build houses across a 3.5 hectare greenbelt site.

A planning statement submitted to the authority states: “The business is currently in operation. However, it has become unviable and despite sustained marketing there have been no viable offers to maintain the premises in its current use.”

The document adds that the existing owners “were looking to exit the business and despite a sustained period of marketing, no viable offers were received”.

The council has received 184 objections to the scheme, with five people in favour of it.

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One resident said: “The Redbeck Motel is a cultural Wakefield icon. A meet up place for decades, how mindless to not see its community value.”

Another states: “The cafe/motel has a cultural history going back five decades, which if destroyed, will have a negative impact on the village and surrounding area.”

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