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Wakefield Waterfront set to be transformed into the new creative centre of the North

Rutland Mills Wakefield
Wakefield Council have agreed the sale of the Rutland Mills site to developers City and Provincial Properties PLC. Rutland Mills sits next to the internationally renowned Hepworth Wakefield art gallery and the regeneration scheme will see the 10 acres of waterfront transformed into a creative hub.

The redevelopment project is the final stage of a three phase regeneration scheme which aimed to transform the waterfront area. Phase one was completed in 2009 with the creation of new offices and work space. Phase two saw the Hepworth Wakefield gallery completed in 2011 and the Rutland Mills project would be the third and final phase.

Dating back to 1872, the Rutland Mills site has been derelict since 1999 and although it was included in the original development plans, the project stalled due to the economic downturn. Wakefield Council continued to market the site, however, to ensure that any future development would complement the original vision for the Waterfront area.

City and Provincial director, Paul Kempe, plans to transform the mills into the creative centre of the North, including the creation of music, textiles, and art and design studios, a small boutique hotel, offices, an events space and a courtyard with bars and restaurants.

Mr Kempe said: ‘City and Provincial Properties have been involved in a number of mixed use regeneration projects throughout the UK and will work alongside Hawkins Brown Architects to deliver this exciting opportunity.’

‘I think there’s huge creative talent in the North of England but a lot of people feel obliged to go down to London. These facilities here could accommodate that talent and keep it in the north, in Wakefield.’

‘I hope that this will have a positive effect on both the immediate area and also The Hepworth.’

City and Provincial Properties PLC is the developer responsible for the Tileyard Studios creative media hub based in central London, and the landmark deal would effectively see a northern extension of this significant cultural brand. Celebrity musicians based at the London complex include Tinchy Stryder, Mark Ronson and Chase & Status.

Chief executive of Wakefield Council, Joanne Roney said: “To get a great investor like this is a big achievement for Wakefield and will finish off our vision for the waterfront development. I am excited now what it will do to the vibrancy of this site and of the district, excited for how it will add to the sustainability of The Hepworth and excited for the 1,000 jobs it will create in small businesses and new technologies and industries.”

Wakefield Council’s cabinet formally agreed the deal which includes a buy back option if work does start work within two years and is subject to planning permission, with an estimated completion time of five years.

The regeneration of Wakefield is going from strength to strength and it is fantastic to see creative and cultural development alongside new retail and housing projects. And following our work with Manchester’s Albert Hall project, if anyone from Hawkins Brown Architects do happen to be reading this post, we would like to point out that sectional overhead garage doors can be a unique and environmentally sound feature of a large regeneration project.

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