Successful bid for BHS and Rutland Mills ‘Levelling Up’ funding

The Leader of Wakefield Council has welcomed the allocation of £20m of ‘Levelling Up’ funds that will enable two major projects to go ahead.

The Chancellor announced in his Autumn speech today (27 October) ‘Levelling Up’ funds, and it has been confirmed that the former BHS store in Wakefield city centre, will receive £12m funding.

And phase two of the Rutland Mills development at the waterside in Wakefield, has been granted £8m of levelling up funding.

Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery

Cllr Denise Jeffery said: “We put forward a very strong case for funding and it is incredibly good news that we have the go ahead for the transformation of BHS and for the next stage of the Rutland Mills development to start.

“We want to provide the services that people need and the job opportunities that this district deserves as we continue our economic recovery from the pandemic – and this is a tremendous step forward as we will see benefits for our city and wider district for years to come.

This investment will have a really positive impact on the city centre, providing more reasons for residents and visitors to come to our high street.

The former BHS store will be repurposed to bring more of the Council’s services into the heart of the City Centre, including a new museum and gallery, moving from its current location in the Wakefield One building, and with a supporting café.

The next steps will be to renovate the building and then to create this exciting, newly designed space.

Funding for Rutland Mills, phase two, will secure the final part of the 18 year regeneration of the waterfront in Wakefield.

It will fund the final two remaining historic buildings to be repurposed as office space, subject to planning permission.

The Levelling Up Funding will be matched by private developers City and Provincial Properties (CPPI) funding to complete Tileyard North’s vision for Rutland Mills, as a creative and cultural centre for the North.

The overall project will create new opportunities to live, work and visit the historic site, bringing jobs, investment and people from all over the region to Wakefield for their entertainment

Phase One, of the redevelopment is underway and is seeing the restoration and conversion of five mill buildings in the Victorian-era complex with two buildings removed to create direct access to the River Calder and the creation of a central events square. One of the restored buildings will house a diverse food eatery market.

Other buildings will provide space for a variety of uses; including creative industries, an educational establishment, commercial offices, music studios and a boutique hotel.