Wakefield set for creative investment with support from the Leeds City Region LEP

24.10.13

Plans to renovate a Grade 2 listed building in Westgate have been approved by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership to create new jobs and boost the creative and digital sector.

Unity Hall in the heart of Wakefield, applied for funding from the Leeds City Region LEP’s Growing Places Fund to rejuvenate a substantial and historic building in the city. It is anticipated that this renovation will amount to nearly 40 jobs created next year.

However, the scale of job creation is expected to be significantly higher as the project gets underway with job creation estimated at almost 300 within the Leeds City Region by 2026 and additional GVA totalling over £95m for the period.

When completed, the building will provide a workspace aimed at creative and digital businesses with high specification digital infrastructure, business start-up accommodation and office space. As part of the offer, the building will include a caf´┐Ż, digital business centre, conference venue and a 600 seat performance area for music and theatrical performances.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said:

"The scheme represents a long term driver of entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth for the city region and in turn is likely to attract significant investment within the region."

"The creative and digital industry is one of the Leeds City Region’s key growth areas and we are backing those sectors where we believe commensurate economic growth will result, so leveraging public money alongside the private sector contribution."

Chris Hill, Director of Unity Hall said:

"There is a mass of creative business talent in Wakefield that too often moves away. Unity intends to be the focus for their energy and an advert to the world that Wakefield is on the up."

Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board said:

"I am very pleased that these ambitious plans to renovate a landmark building at a key gateway to the city centre are coming to fruition.

"The building had fallen into disrepair since it passed from council ownership into private hands and it desperately needed some investment to bring it back into public use.

"This is great news for the district, as we are bringing one of Wakefield’s key buildings back to life. The regeneration of Unity Hall will bring jobs, opportunities and visitors into Wakefield, elevating our position as a leader in the creative and digital sector."