'It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity': Wakefield city centre masterplan signed off

A masterplan detailing how Wakefield city centre will be reshaped over the next 20 years has been signed off by council chiefs.

Under the plans, new urban green spaces, pedestrian footpaths and residential developments will be created in a bid to make the area more attractive.

Efforts will also be made to reduce traffic using the city centre.

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Kirkgate, George Street, Cathedral Retail Park and the area around Northgate and Borough Road will all be the focus of the regeneration.

How a revamped Kirkgate may look in future years.How a revamped Kirkgate may look in future years.
How a revamped Kirkgate may look in future years.

Councillors have also agreed to conduct a feasibility study into the prospect of buying a stake in The Ridings Shopping Centre, which would the aid the sprucing up of Kirkgate.

A final decision on whether or not to go ahead with that idea is likely to be made in June.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where the masterplan was formally approved, portfolio holder for regeneration Darren Byford said: "It is an ambitious vision which will take the city forward over the next 15 to 20 years.

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"It provides an amazing overview of what we will achieve, in terms of economic growth, the introduction of green spaces, new landscaping and new homes.

Designs for how the converted BHS unit will look were released at the end of last year.Designs for how the converted BHS unit will look were released at the end of last year.
Designs for how the converted BHS unit will look were released at the end of last year.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the public consultation we've done over recent months shows there's an appetite out there from residents for this development."

The overall masterplan also includes the conversion of Wakefield's old BHS building into a museum and cafe, provisional designs for which were released at the end of last year.

How each area will be transformed

The Ridings/Kirkgate

The council wants to refurbish the existing social housing in the Kirkgate area as well as adding 100 new homes.

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A green space would be built around here to complement the residential area.

Should the council decide to buy a stake in The Ridings, part of the shopping centre would be demolished, and the prospect of more leisure facilities, such as a bowling alley, explored.

Northgate and Borough Road

A new pedestrian link between the bus station and Wakefield College could be built, with a "new green and play space" put in the heart of the area.

It's been suggested the Borough Road car park could be converted into a multi-storey parking space with a cycle hub.

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Residential properties and a "commercial building" may also be put up on the northern side of the site.

George Street neighbourhood

Proposals for George Street, which runs along the southern side of The Ridings, are to create a pleasant and attractive street for pedestrians and cyclists through a phased development of key neglected sites.

The council says this would eventually lead to an "accessible and green new residential neighbourhood".

Westgate and Cathedral Retail Park

The council says the warehouses in the Garden Street area would be converted into "more appropriate city centre uses".

It's suggested a "linear park" could be created through the unveiling of Ings Beck, together with a new mixed-use neighbourhood.

Local Democracy Reporting Service