Ambitious regeneration masterplan to go before senior councillors

A plan that will guide the future transformation and regeneration of Wakefield City centre will be put to senior councillors next week.

The Wakefield City Masterplan sets out a framework that will help identify and deliver significant transformational change over the next 15 to 20 years, in response to the challenges of changing shopping habits, climate change and the impact of the pandemic.

Key features include creating green and blue corridors to enhance the city with measures such as street planting, rain gardens, green roofs and walls and access to the riverside.

The plan also focuses on three other key areas; to create a low traffic city centre, to celebrate the district’s heritage, and to make an adaptable city centre that works for residents, businesses and visitors.

Councillor Darren Byford, cabinet member for economic growth, regeneration and property, said: “This is a pivotal moment for our historic city centre as we embrace the fundamental change in shopping habits, and our determination to create eco-friendly places, as we face the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

“We want our city to be a place that encourages people to visit and enjoy the shops, cafes, restaurants, and special places including our Cathedral.

“We also want to include more green spaces and sustainable places for residents and visitors to enjoy. By creating a vibrant environment, we want people to feel welcome and to recognise the city as a great place to work, live and visit.”

The Masterplan focuses on development over the next 20 years, in four key areas: at The Ridings and Kirkgate; Northgate and Borough Road; George Street; and Westgate & Cathedral Retail Park.

It also sets out the delivery of the Towns Fund and the Levelling Up Fund, which are important to drive forward the city and district’s economy.

As part of the report going to Cabinet, the senior councillors are being asked to give officers the go-ahead to begin to explore options, which could potentially see the council working with New River Retail on the regeneration of the Ridings Shopping Centre.

This would enable the local authority to further develop proposals for the site and consider ways in which this could be delivered.

Members of the council’s Cabinet meet on 15 February at 10.30am.