On the western side of Wakefield city centre used to lie 17 acres of largely derelict land, railway sidings and a disused dairy. Now, thanks to an ambitious partnership between the English Cities Fund, Wakefield Council and Network Rail, the area is a bustling civic, commercial, leisure and residential gateway into the city.
123,000 sq ft of civic office space, along with 77,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities and more than 60 new apartments has brought life flooding back to this part of Wakefield. Merchant Gate has truly become part of the city’s fabric, providing a modern headquarters for the city council at Wakefield One, as well as a new home for the county court at Emerald House.
A £9 million investment in public infrastructure has created a new gateway into the city with the opening of the rebuilt Westgate station and public space at Burgage Square.
Merchant Gate is part of a story of cultural rejuvenation taking place across Wakefield. Alongside the creative hub developed to the south of the city, the wider Merchant Gate regeneration programme includes Wakefield Museum, the city library, a café and, soon, a new performing arts college. What was once lost land has become an engine of reinvention and imagination for interested minds, young creatives and the next generation of Wakefield citizens.
"The scheme acted as a catalyst for other investment and has positively changed and shaped the future of our city."
Andrew Wallhead, corporate director – regeneration and economic growth at Wakefield Council