Historic Westgate building to be restored

Wakefield Council is to restore an historic Westgate building as part of the next phase of a major scheme to ensure the city’s heritage can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The work is starting this month (January) to repair the former Woolpacks Hotel 50 – 52 Westgate under Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme.

This is the next stage of the scheme funded by Wakefield Council and Historic England to renovate Upper Westgate’s historic buildings and features, which has already seen the reinstating of traditional cobbles to Carter Street and Cheapside and the introduction of up lighting to Thompsons Yard, and the lane leading to Barstow Square.

At the Woolpacks, traditional materials such as hot lime mortar will be used to repoint stonework and repairs will be made to the building’s roof and windows. To tackle damp issues, modern masonry paint will be removed from the outside of the building and be replaced by a breathable lime wash. To enhance the property further, its traditional shop front will be reinstated to replace 1970s cladding.

Darren Byford smiling
Cllr Darren Byford

Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Property, said: “This is a fantastic scheme which is bringing new life into our historic Westgate buildings, supporting our heritage and their long-term future, and encouraging further investment in this part of the city. We will all look forward to seeing the changes that will make such a difference with the restoration work.”

Plans are underway for further Westgate buildings to be restored, with new projects to be announced later in the year.

The Council has received £1.9million from Historic England which it has match funded to make almost £4million worth of investment into renovating Upper Westgate’s historic buildings, and adjacent yards and ginnels. The funding is also being used for exciting new cultural events and celebrations in the future.

Nicky Brown, Historic England Project Officer, said: “It’s fantastic that work will be starting soon to restore this historic building in an area that is rich in heritage and significance for local people.”

The project supports Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) initiative to support the heart of the city, encourage businesses to the area and create new jobs.

The majority of the funds of the £4million project will focus on making grants available of up to 90% to owners of historic properties within the Conservation Area to carry out high quality repairs and to bring internal spaces back into use. At least 20 buildings will be restored, for both residential and business use.

The programme of work will also involve cultural and community activities to engage owners and members of the public with the rich and fascinating history, and will involve working with Wakefield Civic Society, Wakefield Historical Society, and other community partners.

Notes to Editors

About Historic England

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy, and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion, and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work, and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge, and skills to inspire interest, care, and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.  We fundraise from individuals, charitable trusts and foundations and public sector bodies to enable us to deliver those aspects of our work that are not funded by our Government grant.

About Heritage Action Zones

Historic England is working with local people and partners through grant funding and sharing our skills to help breathe new life into high streets that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists, and investors. The High Streets Heritage Action Zones scheme, backed by government funding, aims to help with the recovery of local high streets from regenerating historic buildings to helping to engage local communities through art and cultural projects.