Performing arts college set for green light

Performing arts college set for green light

The proposed development of a new performing arts college at the Merchant Gate scheme in Wakefield looks set to move forward, with plans recommended for approval at a meeting later this week (12 April 2019).

Race Cottam Associates, on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), lodged plans with Wakefield Council last year for a site off Mulberry Way, close to Wakefield Westgate train station.

Planning permission is sought for a new performing arts college to be operated by the Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) College, which would re-locate from its existing premises in Thornes.

The proposed development would comprise about 50,000 sq ft of space over three floors. It would also feature a café fronting onto Mulberry Way which would be open to the public.

The college currently has about 250 students at its existing premises. The new building would initially provide space for 350 students and teaching staff at its planned opening in 2020, growing to 500 the following year.

It has been estimated that the development would support the creation of 47 full-time and 16 part-time roles.

The application will go before Wakefield Council's Planning 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: "The development of this site is welcomed and it is considered that it will result in a flagship building that compliments the wider Merchant Gate SPA.

"The activities associated with the use will add vibrancy and interest to this important area of Wakefield and potentially assist in bringing forward interest in the ground floor elements of the adjacent Burgage Square units which have remained vacant since their construction in around 2010."