Wakefield Civic Society 2023 Design and Environment Awards Announced

At the Society’s Annual General Meeting held on Thursday, 20th April, the following Design and Environment Awards were announced.

Design Awards

Photo of Heathland View House courtesy of Neil Bowen Architects

In the new-build category, a commendation was given for Heathland View House, a newly built house at Warmfield which has been built into the landscape so that it is almost invisible from the road. The architect was Neil Bowen Architects.

Photo of CAPA College – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

An award was presented to CAPA College for their new purpose-built premises on Mulberry Way. The architects were Race Cottam Associates. Modern and amply suited to its purpose, the building completes the Merchant Gate development opposite Westgate Station.

Photo of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

A second award was presented for The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. The judges liked the way that the garden adapted the space between the Hepworth gallery and the recently opened former mill building refurbishment at Tileyard North. The garden created an area of beauty and tranquillity close to the city centre that residents and visitors to the gallery could enjoy.

Photo of 115a Northgate – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

A final award in the new-build category was presented for a new house at 115a Northgate, designed by Architecture 1B. The house occupies a prominent corner plot on the corner of Wentworth Terrace and Northgate and, although of very modern design, the judges were impressed by how the house fitted into a relatively small corner plot while being respectful of the properties around it.

Photo of the Manor House courtesy of PARKdesigned

Moving to the refurbishment category, the judges gave a commendation to the refurbishment of a former Manygates Hospital building, now known as the Manor House, and repurposed as flats as part of a larger residential development known as Woodlands Village. This had been a major refurbishment project of a building that had fallen into a state of dereliction over the years. The lead architects were ParkedDesign.

Photo of 22 Silver Street – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

A commendation was also given to the refurbishment of 22 Silver Street, which includes a newsagent and also the offices of First Choice Recruitment. The property had been refurbished and given a new shop front as part of the Westgate Heritage Action Zone project.

Photos of Thompson’s Yard, Westgate (top) and Woolpacks Yard, Westgate – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

The Heritage Action Zone project was also the subject of a further commendation, awarded to Wakefield Council for the public realm improvements carried out by the Council as part of the project, particularly for the work to improve the appearances of the entrances to Woolpacks Yard, Thompsons Yard and Carter Street.

Photo of Castle Lodge – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

A design award was given to Castle Lodge at Castle Road in Sandal. This former nursing home had been refurbished and extended to create new apartments. The judges liked how a house of traditional design had been sympathetically extended with two new wings to create additional apartments within a landscaped setting. The design was by PRA Architects.

Photo of Haircube Bread Street – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

In the best shop front category, although no awards were given, two commendations were given. The first went to business owner Louise Mould for her hair salon at Bread Street while the second was presented to First Choice Recruitment for the new frontage on their premises at 22 Silver Street.

Photo of the new shop front at 22 Silver Street – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society
Photo of Icmeler Restaurant, Northgate – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society

In the best public house, café/bar or restaurant frontage category, one commendation and one award were presented. The commendation went to Gazi Meydan for the design of his restaurant frontage at 56 Northgate while the award was given to Icon, a bar in the Westgate Heritage Action Zone. The award was for the refurbished frontage, work carried out under the project, as part of a larger project, still underway, to refurbish the former Woolpacks property that extends backwards from Westgate up Woolpacks Yard. The architects for the project are Seven Architecture.

Photo of Icon, Westgate – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society
Photo of the interior of an apartment at the Manor House – Courtesy of PARKdesigned

Finally, in the best residential category a further commendation was awarded for the Manor House at Woodlands Village while Castle Lodge secured its second design award of the evening.

Photo of Castle Lodge – Kevin Trickett for Wakefield Civic Society
Representatives from the Friends of Outwood Park being presented with their award
by the Mayor of Wakefield, Councillor David Jones.

Moving on to the Environment Awards, two award were given. The first went to the Friends of Outwood Park for their planting scheme at the park while the second went to the Wrenthopre Environmental Society (known as WRENS) for their work to ‘spruce up’ the village. Unlike the Design Awards, where recipients were presented with certificates and plaques, winners of the Environment Awards were presented with certificates and cheques for £100.

Ian Carthew of WRENS is presented with the award by Mayor of Wakefield, Councillor David Jones
– Photo by Ben Davison for Wakefield Civic Society

The awards were introduced by David Dinmore MBE DL who, as a Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, spoke of the King’s interest in architecture – something which he had long taken an interest in as Prince Charles. Wakefield Civic Society President Kevin Trickett MBE described the awards and the judges’ decisions while the successful recipients received their awards and commendations from the Mayor of Wakefield, Councillor David Jones.

Photo of (left to right) David Dinmore MBE DL, Kevin Trickett MBE, The Mayor of Wakefield Councillor David Jones and the Mayoress Mrs Annette Jones courtesy of the Mayor.

The judging panel members, all members of Wakefield Civic Society, were:

  • Angie de Courcy Bower
  • Roger Brown
  • Barry Goodchild
  • Elizabeth Motley
  • John Ramsden
  • Graham Roberts

Speaking at the AGM, Civic Society President congratulated all the nominees and prize winners. He said that the Society existed in large part to promote an interest in architecture, design and town planning and the awards were just one way of drawing attention to schemes that added to the special character of the city. “All too often, people seem prepared to criticise the city centre”, he said, “but for anyone prepared to look, there is a lot of work being undertaken by the Council, developers and business owners to make real improvements to the city and this is in the interests of everyone, whether they are residents, business owners or visitors to the city”.

Wakefield Civic Society Environment Awards 2022 Announced

Wakefield Civic Society has announced the winners of their 2022 Environment Awards.

Speaking at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday evening, 28th April, which was held via video link, Wakefield Civic Society president Kevin Trickett said that the judging panel had decided to make four awards.

The awards went to two community groups, to a local school and to an individual who has done much to inspire and lead on tree planting projects in the area.

The awards were presented as follows:

1. Roger Parkinson BEM – for his leadership in the Thornes Woodland Creation Project – a project to plant trees at Thornes Common, one of a number of sites identified by Wakefield Council for tree planting as part of the contribution to the creation of the White Rose and Northern Forests. Working with over 250 volunteers from local businesses, schools, environmental organisations and community groups, Roger has led the project to plant and much some 10,000 trees since December 2021.

Thornes Woodland after the planting was completed

2. Open Country for their Wild About Wakefield Project – an initiative to help people with disabilities to access the countryside, to learn about nature and heritage and take part in physical activities, which in turn helps biodiversity within local green spaces. The project, which is based at Thornes Park, grows and plants out wild flowers, constructs bird boxes and promotes environmental awareness within the community. Volunteers have also provided opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and autism to benefit from weekly tandem cycling rides, weekend wheelchair outings and an adventure club. The project had also contributed to the development of 500m of new accessible footpath at Coxley Woods, near Horbury Bridge.

Volunteers and community members at Open Country

3. The Thornes Millennium Green Trust – for their management of a community garden, the Thornes Millennium Green, on Denby Dale Road. The garden was first created in 1997/8 in preparation for the Millennium and has been maintained ever since. Over the last year, the small team of gardeners have introduced more planting to support pollinators, tending shrubbery that is beneficial to birds and created a ‘bug hotel’.

Thornes Millennium Green – Big Hotel left and planting centre and right

4. Wakefield Methodist Junior and Infant School for their ‘tree awareness campaign’. For the last twelve years, the school has engaged with tree projects around Wakefield. This has involved planting trees and taking part in regional national and international tree campaigns. They have demonstrated how a tree nursery can be set up in a school and have been keen supporters of the community nursery in Thornes Park. The project, which raises awareness of the benefits of tree planting, involves the school’s leadership and teaching staff as well as pupils at the school.

Members of Wakefield Methodist J&I School

Each award winner was presented with a certificate and will receive a cash prize of £100 from the Society.

Mr Trickett congratulated all award winners adding that environmental concerns are increasingly being discussed by politicians, business and community leaders. While it is important that everyone does their bit to improve the environment, community projects such as these show what can be done, and more importantly, what is being done locally by ordinary people to care for the places they love.

Mr Trickett added that the Society hoped to make the Environment Awards and annual event and encouraged others to submit entries when the call goes out towards the end of the year for the 2023 awards.

Any enquiries regarding these awards should be directed to the Society by email at info@wakefieldcivicsociety.org.uk

Wakefield Civic Society offers support for City Centre Masterplan

The Society has offered support for the draft city centre Masterplan published by Wakefield Council in October 2021.

In a letter to the Council dated 5th November 2021, the Society said:

This is Wakefield: Re-Imagining the City Centre; the Wakefield Masterplan

The Executive Committee of Wakefield Civic Society has discussed the proposed Masterplan in detail. Members are very much in support of its principles. The Society also supports the way in which the plan has been prepared, with extensive use of online and in-person methods of consultation and with very clear visual presentations and maps.

There is much in the Masterplan that we like and the content chimes very well with our own vision of what we think should happen in the city centre over the coming years. The Masterplan recognises that the future cannot be premised solely on a reliance on retail to attract visitors and business investment into the city.

In specifying an alternative to retail, the Masterplan declares a vision ‘to provide a balanced mixed offer and a people-focused environment where work, live, create, experience and access are interlinked to enable a distinctive and vibrant environment.’ The Society fully endorses that vision. In addition, the Society endorses the proposals for ‘green and blue’ areas, for movement, heritage and culture and adaptability.

Given the complexity of the proposals there are aspects where the Society has detailed reservations or where the proposals could still be improved – for example:

  • We suspect that, at least for the time being given the recent experience of home working during the Covid pandemic, the potential for commercial office development will be limited. While office development is not a major theme in the Masterplan, and proposals to offer flexible spaces for co-working and incubator spaces are very welcome, we think a cautious approach will be required to the provision of ‘traditional’ office space.
  • Some proposed green and residential areas, adjacent to the ‘Emerald Ring’, including the ‘King Project’ area, suffer from traffic noise that will require local mitigation.
  • Kirkgate Station remains rather isolated and would benefit from the provision of direct pedestrian access via Calder Vale Road and a more direct route to the Hepworth and Tileyard North which gives greater priority to pedestrians that the current arrangement.

The plan envisages a major change for the City Centre and will almost certainly cause some local disruption in its implementation. We have a number of businesses in the city centre who are corporate members of the Society and we have had representations made to us about the sequencing of work – concerns range from removing car parking spaces before new spaces are created (or existing, alternative spaces better signposted) and allowing access to premises for deliveries and waste collection during the implementation phases. Some of these concerns will also apply to the growing resident population within the city centre.

For this reason, the Society wishes that more attention be paid to ways of informing all parties about the plan implementation and arrangements for the management of specific sites throughout the process. We also urge the Council and developers to consider ways of minimising potential disruption for residents and businesses. There are various possibilities – for example, annual or six monthly focus groups, regular public meetings or a permanent city centre consultative committee that evolves from current arrangements such as the Town Deal Board/High Street Task Force and the City Centre BID. Some combination of measures is also possible. Consultation is particularly important, given continuing uncertainty about market trends, the post-Covid recovery and the availability of public funds. Moreover, the consultative arrangements need to ensure that a representative range of local interests are involved.

Separately, we have submitted written statements on the draft Local Plan 2036 for consideration in the forthcoming Examination in Public. As you may be aware, we foresee a potential conflict between the content of the Local Plan, prepared before the Masterplan reached its current stage, and the content of the Masterplan itself. The Masterplan is much closer to our own aspirations for the city centre and it is important that the Masterplan carries sufficient weight in the planning system to prevent developers using the Local Plan to have proposals in the Masterplan set aside.

Once the Masterplan is adopted and specific elements of it come forward for delivery, we will consider detailed implementation plans and planning applications in more detail and in light of prevailing circumstances at the time, but the broad thrust of the proposals we are very happy to endorse.


Northgate Closure Proposal

Wakefield Council recently announced a proposal to close Northgate to traffic from the Bull Ring to the junction with Providence Street and Cross Street for a period of six months. On-road parking spaces along Northgate from Cross Street to Rishworth Street will also be suspended during this period.

This is an experimental closure intended to help with the re-opening of the city centre and to allow restaurants and cafés in the vicinity to serve food to their customers at tables set up outside. The Council will take comments during the trial and consider making changes as considered necessary.

The Society’s view on the proposal

In broad terms, the Society supports the Council’s proposal.

Kevin Trickett, president of the Society said:

“The Society has been calling for increased pedestrianisation of the city centre, particularly around the Bull Ring area, for some time so the current proposal is a step in that direction.

“Many of the vehicles travelling via the Bull Ring are just passing through – they bring nothing to the city centre except congestion and pollution and much of the through traffic could find other routes around the city – for example via Marsh Way, Mulberry Way and Drury Lane.

“We appreciate that the Northgate proposal is a temporary measure, introduced as a direct response to help open up the city centre as lockdown eases, and it is far from a perfect arrangement, but we understand that there was an opportunity here for the Council to secure funding from central government and it had to move quickly to do so.

“In theory, this proposal should allow those cafés and restaurants along Northgate that wish to do so to serve customers outdoors; it just wouldn’t be possible to do that without reducing traffic flow and removing some of the parking spaces as the pavements aren’t wide enough to allow it, particularly when there is an ongoing requirement to maintain social distancing.

“Inevitably, this will take some getting used to and we can understand that some businesses might have concerns. Indeed, the Council may need to modify the proposals over time once they see how they work in practice, but it will serve as a useful experiment to test whether people prefer more space being given over to pedestrians.

“Many towns and cities are making similar arrangements right now, both on a temporary basis as here in Wakefield and also as part of more permanent solutions to reduce traffic and to improve the quality of the environment and public realm. We hope that, in due course, the Wakefield Council will go further.

“Unlike some larger cities, Wakefield has a relatively compact city centre which should lend itself well to further pedestrianised areas but we need a complete package with traffic calming measures, changes to bus routes, provision for delivery and emergency vehicles and disabled access being included in the overall design.

“Some people may recall that traffic used to be allowed to travel in both directions along upper Kirkgate until the area was first pedestrianised in the mid-1970s. I recall some people expressing misgivings about that scheme when it was first mooted but I doubt anyone would want to see traffic being allowed back into the ‘Cathedral precinct’ which is one of the most attractive parts of the city centre today complete with landscaping and mature trees where once there used to be cars”.

Wakefield’s Cathedral Precinct on a sunny Sunday evening in late spring.

Safety first – Civic Society President gives cautious welcome to the re-opening of city centre businesses

Speaking about the news that the government was to allow some businesses to re-open following an easement to the lockdown measures, Wakefield Civic Society President Kevin Trickett MBE said:

“Wakefield Civic Society welcomes the gradual easing of the lockdown conditions. We need to see Wakefield opening for business once again – but it must be done in such a way that ensures people can go about that business in a way that is safe and low risk. Yes, it will be good for people to be able to get out and about again, but we must not jeopardise people’s health and safety, otherwise the last two months will have been for nothing. Too many people have suffered, and died, because of this awful virus. Let’s not forget that as we slowly start to ease back into something approaching normal.

“Of course, opening shops is only part of the story. Many of the businesses in the catering and hospitality trade, such as hotels, bars and restaurants, will remain closed for now; similarly our cultural venues such as galleries, cinemas and theatres are some way off returning to ‘business as usual’. We have great sympathy for those businesses that can for now only look at the calendar and wonder when they too will be able to resume operation, but we have to adopt a safety-first approach and we urge the government to continue offering financial support wherever it is needed. These businesses and cultural organisations have helped to make our town and city centres great places in which to relax and to enjoy life with our families and friends. In the fulness of time, we need them to bounce back, to resume where they left off, and to bring back joyfulness and richness to our lives.

“Until that time comes, we congratulate those business and cultural organisations that have found innovative ways to keep going in one way or another, whether it be offering goods and services on-line, delivery and takeaway services, or providing entertainment through their websites and social media outlets.”

Our New Brand!

Wakefield Civic Society has today launched a new brand designed by Wakefield design agency, Rhubarb Design House.

The new brand which will appear on all the Society’s new publications, and correspondence as well as on-line, was created as part of partnership arrangement agreed with the agency, one of the Society’s new corporate members.

Speaking about the new brand, Society president Kevin Trickett said “When I was first elected as president in 2002, the Society spent some time thinking about what it did and how we could promote that to the public. We devised a brand for the Society which has served us well but it was beginning to look a bit stale and it needed updating so I was delighted when Rhubarb Design House first approached us with their offer and we are very pleased with the result. We have just updated our website and also launched a new Instagram account so the new brand will be found across all our sites, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as in our printed material. It’s really important for the Society to maintain a public profile that reflects the wide range of things we do and the interests we have.”

Rhubarb Design Agency was founded by Alex McIntosh and James Lodge and is based at The Art House on Drury Lane, Wakefield.

Alex and James have both lived in Wakefield nearly all their lives. James explained “We have always been captivated by both the history and development of our wonderful city. We first encountered Kevin, and his passion for the city, on an Art Walk several years ago. Since then, it has always been in the back of our minds that we would one day like to join the society and have a hand in shaping the future of Wakefield.

“We launched our new design studio in the city last year and this seemed like the perfect time to join the society as corporate members and offer our design expertise. We were keen to help raise the profile of Wakefield Civic Society, as we are conscious that not everyone in the city is aware of who they are and what they do. They are a vital part in helping the city develop, which is something we both feel very passionate about.

“Late last year we broached the subject of a rebrand with the idea of creating a new logo which better reflected the society. Whilst the previous logo had sentimental meaning (being based on one of the Society’s first ever restoration projects from the 1960s), it wasn’t obviously recognisable and didn’t really reflect the work of the Society as a whole.

“The new logo aims to show the varied role that the society plays in the city. The shield shape hints at tradition, whereas the contemporary illustration style is clean and ensures the logo stands out, especially in digital formats. We are absolutely thrilled with the outcome and hope that the new branding gains more exposure for the society and ultimately helps them attract new members!”

For more information about Rhubarb Design House, have a look at their website.

Wakefield Civic Society President to host series of interviews on behalf of the national movement

As a result of the current coronavirus epidemic, the Society has no events planned at present.

However, our president, Kevin Trickett MBE has been asked by Civic Voice to host a series of ‘In Conversation with’ interviews where each week he will speak to a person with a background in planning, architecture, design, heritage or regeneration using Zoom video conferencing.

The interviews began on 6th May when Kevin interviewed planning consultant Graham Galpin. On 14th May, Kevin interviewed Bob Colenutt, lecturer and author of a new book The Property Lobby.

If you would like to observe one of these interviews, you will need to book tickets via the Civic Voice Eventbrite page which also lists the interviews so far arranged – please note that new dates are being added all the time.

Wakefield Civic Society welcomes new corporate member – Architecture 1B.

March 2020

The Society today welcomes Architecture 1B as one of its growing band of corporate members.

Architecture 1B is a small bespoke architectural practice based in Horbury. The company was formed at the end of 2012 by Darren Bailey who has over 20 years’ experience and has worked at some of the North’s largest architectural practices delivering projects of varying scale and sectors, such as Headingley cricket ground and central square in Newcastle. In 2003 Darren was a founding member of Leeds based practice architecture 2B alongside Nick Brown which was commended with various awards.

Wakefield Civic Society president Kevin Trickett MBE said “We are delighted to welcome Darren as a corporate member. Darren has worked with us before and has from time to time turned to us on behalf of his clients for our thoughts on projects he has been working on in Wakefield, a really good example of how developers and their architects and designers can work co-operatively with civic societies. Not only is he helping to bring some exciting new projects to our area but, in becoming a corporate member of the Society, he is showing support for what we do as a community organisation.”

The Society offers three categories of Corporate Membership, details of which can be found here.

Wakefield Civic Society joins Wakefield Town Deal Board

January 2020

Wakefield Civic Society has been invited to join Wakefield’s newly established Town Deal Board. The Board, part of Wakefield’s High Street Task Force, is made up of representatives from Wakefield’s public, private and third sector organisations and will support Wakefield Council as it develops a strategy to facilitate revitalisation of the city centre. The Board will also assist the council in attracting new inward investment, including grant applications under the Future High Streets Fund, Heritage Action Zone and Towns Fund initiatives.

The Board will oversee the development and subsequent implementation of a city centre masterplan while ensuring a diverse range of voices and perspectives are fed into the discussions.

Wakefield Civic Society president Kevin Trickett MBE, who will represent the Society on the Board, said that he was delighted to take part and considered that the invitation extended to the Society was a tribute to the Society’s reputation for being a knowledgeable and constructive contributor to the ongoing discussions about how the city centre should develop. He added “The Society was established in 1964 and has been actively engaged in many of the debates about what should happen in Wakefield ever since. We recognise that cities have to evolve to take account of changing lifestyles and that we have to move with the times, but we also recognise that Wakefield has a fine range of historic buildings which we wish to see preserved even though they will often have to find new uses to meet the challenges of a modern city centre.”