Our Vision for Wakefield

Wakefield Civic Society publishes aspirational vision statement for future development of the city centre

Members of the Society’s Executive Committee and Planning Sub-Committee have been discussing the sort of changes that they would like to see taking place in the city centre over the coming years. Their aspiration is to find ways of making the city a more attractive and more enjoyable place for those who live, work or visit there, whilst ensuring the city’s distinctive historical identity is retained.

Our Vision for Wakefield sets out the Society’s current thinking. It takes as its starting point Wakefield Council’s Developing the Vision booklet published in 2005 in association with Yorkshire Forward and Koetter Kim Associates as part of Yorkshire Forward’s Urban Renaissance programme of the time. Society President Kevin Trickett was a member of Wakefield’s Town Team and ensured that the Society’s ideas fed into Developing the Vision when it was being compiled. The Society’s views have, of course, continued to evolve in the intervening years to take account of changing lifestyles, technological advances and economic pressures both nationally and locally and, aware that Wakefield Council is currently working on a new Master Plan for the city centre, the time felt right for the Society to produce its own vision statement.

In summary, the Society foresees a different type of city centre going forward, one more focused on cultural and leisure activities than on either retailing or commercial office employment. Although there will, of course, still be a need for both retail and office space in the city, Wakefield needs to develop a new identity and it makes sense to build on the city’s growing reputation as a place for cultural activities (in the widest sense of the term) and leisure while making determined efforts to improve the overall ‘liveability’ and connectedness of the centre.

The Society’s proposals fall under four main headings:

  1. promoting cultural activities;
  2. promoting tourism and visitors;
  3. promoting liveability and connectedness; and
  4. increasing the number of city centre and inner-city residents.

Kevin Trickett said “Wakefield Civic Society was established in 1964 and has helped to stimulate debate about how the city centre and surrounding areas should be developed ever since. This new paper brings into one document our current aspirations for the city centre. It is not meant to be prescriptive but is instead intended to prompt continued discussion and debate. The final decisions will, of course, be made by the Council but we want the general public to take part in that debate. The Council has commissioned Farrells to work on a new Master Plan for the city centre and we have been contributing our ideas into the work that Farrells have been engaged on. We look forward to the public consultation on the new Master Plan and perhaps seeing some of our own aspirations reflected there in due course”.

You can read a copy of the Society’s Our Vision for Wakefield here.

The paper was written by Executive Committee member Barry Goodchild MRTPI, Professor (Emeritus) of Housing and Urban Planning, based on the views of committee members, and is prefaced with an introduction by Society President Kevin Trickett MBE.