WORK on the city's £210m Trinity Walk development had been suspended after the developer's bankers refused further finance for the scheme

In March 2009, 185 workers stopped work on the development being run by Shepherd Construction, which said it was still committed to completing the scheme despite the problems. In February 2009 it was revealed that Wakefield Council had agreed to help bail out the privately funded project, which had a shortfall of at least £7m, with up to £3.5m from its capital budget to help save 1,500 jobs.

Wakefield Council corporate director for regeneration Andy Wallhead said: "Though the council agreed a support package in February, this was dependent on borrowing from the bank.

"We will reserve this position until the outcome of our continuing talks on funding arrangements. The global economic climate is clearly having a huge impact on regeneration schemes around the country.

"We want to reassure people that the council will continue to do all it can to regenerate Wakefield city centre and bring all the schemes to completion. The council and its partners have worked tirelessly to support this major private sector development scheme which is a key part of the regeneration of Wakefield city centre."

As well as retail, the scheme also includes the city's new central library.

In May 2009, a ray of hope for the seemingly-doomed Trinity Walk project was on the cards as council bosses hinted the project was on the verge of being saved.

Potential buyers were understood to have met with the administrators of the "210m scheme with a view to closing a deal described as 'a bargain' by council leader Peter Box. Coun Box appeared to suggest the future of the city centre retail and leisure development was secure when he addressed business leaders recently.

He told the first Friday networking event: "We are very confident it will go forward." He added: "It's a real bargain for somebody."

There were rumours of an announcement, but KPMG, which took control of Trinity Walk after its funding from the Anglo Irish Bank was pulled and work stopped on March 10, said there would be no news until later in May. A spokesperson said: "We are involved with a competitive sale process that is progressing well and we are looking forward to bringing it to a timely conclusion." Coun Box issued a further statement yesterday, after building firm Shepherd Construction also said there was no change to the situation. The statement said: "We are in contact with the administrators and are certainly encouraged by the fact there have been a number of bidders interested in taking on this private development. The council remains committed to helping see this scheme completed and we are now looking forward to further announcements on Trinity Walk in the near future."

Trinity Walk Wakefield Ltd, which was set up by developers Modus and CIREF, remains in administration.

The troubled Trinity Walk project looks to have now been saved. Developer Centros, from London, is about to sign a deal to take over the "210m shopping project after a cash crisis forced workers to down tools in March. Leader of Wakefield Council, Peter Box, announced the news at a full council meeting in June. Centros are currently involved with redeveloping the Castle Piccadilly area of York, and shopping developments in Lancaster and Bury St Edmunds.

Almost 9 months after workers downed tools, work on Wakefield's troubled Trinity Walk project should resume in January 2010 after developers struck a new deal to complete the scheme.

The development, which stalled after a funding crisis, has been taken over by a new consortium comprising Shepherd Construction, Sovereign Land and AREA Property Partners. And they say it will be completed by Easter 2011. A spokesman for Shepherd Construction, the appointed contractor to complete the building work, said plans for the 500,000sq ft scheme remained largely unchanged.

Council leader Peter Box said: "This is fantastic news and we are now looking forward to seeing this important city centre development completed, which will breathe new life into our economy."

Key Facts about Wakefield Trinity Walk Development

The primary upper mall will link with the City's existing retail offer and provide:

  • A 96,000 sq ft department store for Debenhams
  • A 20,000 sq ft store for Next
  • A 19,000 sq ft store for New Look
  • A 19,000 sq ft store for H&M
  • A 10,000 sq ft store for River Island
  • 52 additional retail and catering units of various sizes
  • The lower mall, with a direct link to the car park is anchored by a 92,000 sq ft Sainsbury's.

In addition Trinity Walk will bring:

  • A new self contained indoor market opened June 2008
  • A new public library
  • A 950 space car park

Trinity Walk will bring Wakefield up 24 places in the CACI's National Retail Footprint Rankings to 64th in the UK.


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