Case Study: Unity Hall, Wakefield
Unity Hall in Wakefield is another example of a Community Benefit Society in the Yorkshire region that is pursuing the same route as Bradford One to bring an historic venue back into use and community ownership. Their plans are very much advanced and with the help of Shine Business Centre in Leeds, who we at Bradford One are also in regular contact with, they are set to make a massive announcement any day now.
Unity Hall has been an inspiration for the formation of Bradford One and has inspired us to develop our plans for the former Odeon cinema in the way that we are – giving the community an opportunity to have a direct say in what they would like the former Odeon cinema to be by working towards a community share issue and a directly democratic governance structure.
Here, the team behind Unity Hall explain their project in their own words:
Located at the very centre of new developments in the city, Unity Hall is opposite the Westgate rail station, currently undergoing a major transformation, the Theatre Royal which is being extended, and the impressive new Merchant Gate urban regeneration zone. Wakefield’s fast-rising music venture, The Hop, is also just around the corner and the area is awash with car parking spaces.
Unity House (Wakefield) Limited – a new co-operative formed this year – plans to exploit strong ties with all of these businesses and developments. The venue will accommodate acts and shows which are too big for either the Theatre Royal or The Hop. For conferences,
its central location on the East Coast train line and ample parking offer an opportunity to finally re-centralise business meeting places in the city.
Unity will be the centre for Wakefield creative businesses. Space will be let to ambitious entrepreneurs at all levels of affordability, from hot-desk space at £50 a month to high spec, fully furnished offices. Wifi will run throughout.
Free informal meeting space will exist alongside bookable meeting rooms. The Hall and Function Room will cater for all types of events and a remodelled entry way and stairwell will offer exhibition space for ‘indie’ retailers and new artists. At its centre will be art work celebrating the names of investors.
The co-op will be governed by its member shareholders on a one-member, one-vote basis. We believe in business success through working together and any surplus cash will go to supporting local creative entrepreneurs.
Full refurbishment of Unity HallThe plan at a glance:
- A 650-seater venue and an 80-seater function room
- 12,000 square feet of office space
- 3,500 square feet of meeting space
- A café on Westgate with reception, exhibition space and independent retail.