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Farrells wins Wakefield city centre masterplan contest

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Farrells has won a publicly tendered contract to rethink Wakefield city centre

The practice was selected ahead of an undisclosed shortlist of rival firms to win the estimated £250,000 commission, which was announced by Wakefield Council in October.

Farrells will now create an ‘inspirational’ strategic framework outlining the potential for future physical development and economic growth within the historic West Yorkshire cathedral city.

The project aims to enhance the ‘historic character and sense of local distinctiveness’ within Wakefield, while also delivering ‘vibrant’ mixed-use developments and housing. Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects created an earlier masterplan for the city centre in 2004.

Farrells associate Katerina Karaga said: ‘The Wakefield City Centre Masterplan is an excellent opportunity to revitalise the heart of Wakefield and the retail core of the city. Essential to this is creating a dynamic and flexible masterplan able to stand the test of time and adapt to market needs.

‘Our experience in town-centre regeneration and understanding of cultural heritage allows us to embrace this challenge. We look forward to working closely with Wakefield Council and the wider project team.’ The winning team includes Aspinall Verdi, FutureCity, PJA and UK Networks.

Wakefield is a historic city and former county town of the West Riding of Yorkshire, located on the River Calder bordering the eastern edge of the Pennines. The settlement is a major employment, retail and cultural centre for the wider surrounding region.

The city is the birthplace of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. David Chipperfield Architects completed the Hepworth gallery in the city seven years ago. Feilden Fowles’ The Weston visitor centre at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park nearby was also shortlisted for last year’s RIBA Stirling Prize.

The latest phased project aims to transform the centre of Wakefield into a ‘cultural centre of national and international distinction’ while also boosting the quality and flexibility of public spaces and improving pedestrian connections. It will also deliver a more diverse range of shops and a bigger offer for international tourism.

Key areas to be covered by the masterplan will include land use, movement, green infrastructure, urban design, and overall development strategy. The core area focuses on land immediately surrounding the cathedral, while the wider study area stretches out to the city’s ‘Emerald Ring’ green walking route.

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