David Adjaye’s Wakefield Market Hall has been saved from demolition after the council decided to re-use the structure instead of turning it into a cinema
Wakefield Council’s cabinet voted last July to pull down all buildings on the site except the distinctive canopy from the scheme completed in 2008.
Sovereign Land, the owners of the town’s Trinity Walk shopping centre, won planning permission for a Leslie Jones Architecture-designed cinema and restaurant scheme in December 2017.
But the developer has struggled to progress with the project and, with fresh plans emerging for another cinema in the city, the council has now decided to reverse its decision to sell the site.
Instead, the building will be now be used to house a new creativity and innovation hub for the Wakefield Creative Industries Growth Platform, to be known as WX3.
‘A recent appraisal of potential sites to host a city centre creativity and innovation hub has identified the opportunity to repurpose the main market hall building, offering a cost-effective and exciting way to deliver a key function of the WX3 Platform as well as support the wider regeneration of the city centre,’ said the council in a statement.
It added that the hub would ‘connect cultural institutions, creative businesses, entrepreneurs and students in the fields of art, creativity, technology and social space’.
The council has secured a government grant of £4.38 million towards the development of the WX3 Platform, which is slated for completion in 2020/21.
Ahead of this, British artist Luke Jerram’s touring piece the Museum of the Moon will be displayed at Wakefield Market Hall from Friday 23 August to Sunday 8 September 2019.
The permanent buildings that were outlined to be demolished included nine permanent retail units, clad in grey-stained cedar, around the edge of the market.
The council first announced its intention to close the market in 2014, saying it was losing £193,000 a year.
At the time, Adjaye told AJ that he had learned of the authority’s decision ‘with huge regret’.
He said: ‘The importance of the typology for contemporary cities is something that I strongly believe should be safeguarded – especially for a city like Wakefield, with its heritage as a market town that dates back to the 16th century.’
David adjaye market