Wakefield Council have purchased the 19th-century Westgate railway station as part of a long-term regeneration plan for the City.
The station closed ten years ago when the new one opened next door.
The plan is to construct a hotel and office at this location, which aims to attract businesses back to the city centre and reverse the trend of out-of-town locations.
Local business leaders have supported the move and emphasised the need for a hotel in the city centre.
A Wakefield Council spokesperson said; “Following the purchase, we will do soft market testing to determine the commercial interest for a hotel, office block or both at this location, before inviting developers to submit bids.”
The construction of the new premises will complete the regeneration of Westgate. CAPA College, a performing arts college, and Burgage Square, a mixed-use development with accommodation, retail and office space, were the most recent projects to redevelop this area.
Mark Lynam, Wakefield Council’s Corporate Director for Regeneration and Economic Growth, said: “When completed, the Westgate Gateway will be an excellent location for businesses due to its convenient railway links, places to stay, high-quality offices and nearby restaurants. It’s part of our vision for Wakefield to be a flexible and adaptable city, easily changing to customer demand. The provision of high-quality offices and a hotel will be the final feature to our Westgate Gateway, well positioned on the East Coast Main Line railway and adjacent to some of the city’s most valuable cultural assets.”
Kevin Trickett, Interim Chair of Wakefield’s High Street Task Force, said: “Wakefield suffers from not having a quality hotel in the city centre. In my role as Civic Society President, I sometimes organise events where I bring people from across the region or even further afield and it’s really difficult trying to organise logistics when the hotels are outside the city centre. Going back further, in a previous job I used to organise conferences and I would’ve loved to have brought that business to Wakefield, but I couldn’t because we just don’t have that sort of hotel, so, it’s an exciting prospect.”
This is one of several projects in the Wakefield master plan that together aim to transform the city centre into a thriving and culturally vibrant city. Other include Tileyard North, The Orangery and Civic Quarter, Kirkgate Gateway, a flexible multi-use outdoor space at Cathedral Square and a new home for the Wakefield Library and Museum in the heart of the city centre.
The purchase of the Old Westgate Station is one of the city centre projects being funded through a £24.9m grant from the Towns Fund which was allocated in 2021.