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Wakefield Council approves demolition of Adjaye’s market

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Much of David Adjaye’s Wakefield Market Hall is set to be demolished, despite uncertainty over a planning application for a replacement scheme on the site

Wakefield Council’s cabinet voted earlier this month to pull down all buildings – except the distinctive canopy – at the scheme, which was only completed in May 2008.

A planning application for a cinema and restaurants on the site was approved last year, but developer Sovereign Land is holding off from proceeding with the purchase of the site.

A report to councillors said: ‘Whilst the council has agreed in principle to a further extension of time for the sale to take place, it also has to consider the implications for the continuing operation of the market hall, including the ongoing costs involved.

‘Therefore, the council has proposed that it carry out the demolition of the market buildings itself, rather than leaving this to the developer, allowing closure of the facility.’

According to the council, the developer has agreed that the council can add the estimated £300,000 cost of the demolition work to the final sale bill.

The permanent buildings to be demolished include nine permanent retail units, clad in grey-stained cedar, around the edge of the market.

The facility also housed about 50 temporary units. Most traders have already left the market, but the council said that it was spending significant amounts of money to continue running the market for those remaining.

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.’

The Sovereign Land scheme, for a nine-screen cinema and restaurants, received planning permission in December and has been designed by Leslie Jones Architecture.

David adjaye market

David adjaye market

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Parallels with what's going on in Exeter - city bus station half closed for redevelopment - including a new bus station - but the developer pulled out before the closure.
    Result - disrupted bus and coach services, no sign of a start on the new bus station, ongoing dereliction and a City Council looking like incompetent vandals.

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