Green light recommended for new creative quarter on Wakefield's waterfront

Green light recommended for new creative quarter on Wakefield's waterfront

The proposed conversion of a listed mill on Wakefield's waterfront to create a new creative quarter that could become a "significant cultural destination in the North of England" are set to move forward with plans recommended for approval when they go before councillors next week (12 April 2018).

Planning consultancy Turley submitted a planning permission and listed building consent application on behalf of City & Provincial Properties to Wakefield Council in November 2017 for the conversion of Rutland Mills.

The site is located to the south of Wakefield City Centre, adjacent to The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery and a grade II-listed watermill. It currently comprises a complex of nine 19th century buildings including the grade II listed Rutland Mill complex, grade II listed Phoenix Mill building, associated curtilage listed buildings and the locally-listed Caddies Wainwright Mill building.

City and Provincial Properties is behind Tileyard Studios, a creative media hub in central London, and is aiming to create a 'northern extension' of the brand, in partnership with the council.

The applicant has described its vision for the project as "the final stage of a regeneration masterplan that will give ten acres of Wakefield's historic riverside a new lease of life and see it become a significant cultural destination in the North of England".

If plans are approved, the Rutland Mills site would be turned into a new mixed use creative quarter for collaborative partnerships in music, film, TV, design and new media.

The planned development would include a new four-storey building, riverside pier and new public realm creating a large open air events space.

A flexible range of uses are proposed, including new shops, market stalls, a hotel, food and drink outlets, conference and education spaces, art galleries, a microbrewery, craft workshops, studios and offices.

One of the grade II-listed buildings on the site would be demolished with the rest to be restored.

The application will be considered by Wakefield Council's planning and highways committee on 12 April and is recommended for approval, subject to conditions, in a planning officer's report prepared for the meeting.

The report said: "Officers consider that the proposal does have some negative impacts; namely, the adverse retail impacts and the harm to the listed mill complex which is considered to be less than substantial.

"Individually the heritage, regeneration and other public benefits are considered to weigh significantly in favour of the development and taken cumulatively they are compelling and are afforded substantial weight in favour of the development. Overall, the wider public benefits are considered to clearly outweigh the identified harm in the overall planning balance."