Historic Wakefield waterfront mills to be brought back to life

The redevelopment of Rutland Mills has received £2.89 million from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal

14 January 2020

Work is expected to start on site this month on Phase One of the redevelopment of the historical Rutland Mills complex at Wakefield Waterfront into a diverse and multi-functional cultural landmark for the north. This will see the culmination of 15 years of regeneration of the waterfront area.

Phase One, which is expected to take three years, will see restoration and conversion of five mill buildings in the Victorian-era complex with two buildings removed to create a direct access to the River Calder and the creation of a central events square.

One of the restored buildings will house a diverse food market. Other buildings will provide space for a variety of uses; including creative industries, an educational establishment, commercial offices, music studios and a boutique hotel.

The regeneration of Rutland Mills has received £2.89 million from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal - a £1 billion package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the LEP, said: “The regeneration of Rutland Mills is a fantastic example of how the Leeds City Region Growth Deal is helping to transform the Wakefield economy by attracting investment and creating new jobs.

“Once complete, this will add yet another cultural string to Wakefield’s bow offering new job opportunities, particularly in the cultural and digital sectors, as well as another destination for visitors to complement The Hepworth Wakefield.”

During the construction phase, the work is expected to create 120 jobs.

The project, which was first outlined in 2015, secured planning permission in 2018, is now ready to move ahead with Phase One and a contract between developers, City and Provincial Properties and Wakefield Council has now being signed.

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee, said: “Signing this contract means the world to this district. It’s going to be a real game changer. We’ve waited a long time for this, we talked about it a number of years ago and I was involved in it through the regeneration project.

“It's absolutely wonderful and it will put Wakefield on the map. It will bring jobs, it will bring investment and more than anything, it will bring people from all over the region to Wakefield for their entertainment.”

Paul Kempe, Director of CPP, said that this major regeneration project will be a major cultural boost for the district and the region: “Our vision is that Rutland Mills will be transformational for Wakefield, in particular, but also for the wider region and what we want to deliver here is a creative hub with all sorts of employment opportunities, for local people and those from further afield, who will want to come here and have a chance to be able to enjoy what will be an incredibly vibrant place.”

He’s also said that it will become home to the next exciting location for Tileyard London to champion and support independent artists and businesses by providing them with space to work and room to grow.

“This is going to be branded Tileyard North and there's going to be an incredible linkage between what we are going to create here and what we have in London.

“It will be a gateway for people to be able to get all the benefits of coming to London meeting the labels, producers, all of that but without having to actually leave Wakefield."