Tracy Brabin, Labour MP for Bately and Spen and Labour candidate for West Yorkshire Metro Mayor has toured a large regeneration project taking place at Rutland Mills in Wakefield to learn about the transformation in the previously abandoned, derelict mill complex.

Work is now well underway on the site and Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery has described the project as a “gamechanger” for the city. The redevelopment marks the final stage of Wakefield’s waterfront regeneration ‘masterplan’, which aimed to give the Calder riverside a new lease of life as a “significant cultural destination” in the North of England.

The tour was led by former Wakefield Council leader Peter Box and allowed Tracy the opportunity to learn more about the vision and value of this unique project.

The man behind the development is Paul Kempe, owner of City and Provincial Properties Plc who undertake a variety of developments including residential & commercial developments as well as strategic land and complex site assemblies. CPP also owns and manages Tileyard London, based in Kings Cross it is one of the world’s largest communities of independent artists and businesses. Kempe saw the potential in Wakefield for a second creative hub.

Tileyard London is home to over 250 creative organisations, artists and independent creative industry businesses including a world leading music industry training facility. Amongst Tileyard London’s residents you’ll find the likes of The Prodigy, Lily Allen, Hurts, Ella Eyre, Sigala, Platoon, Beats One (Apple), Spitfire Audio, Good Soldier, Marshall Records, Marathon Artists, Notting Hill Music, Focusrite, Key Production, Devialet, Pioneer DJ, 13 Artists, Ultra Music, Maverick, and many more hitmakers, game changers, tastemakers and innovators.

Tileyard North will be a 135,000 sqft creative industries gem which when re-generation is completed will transform the site into the UK’s largest creative community outside of London but with direct links to the existing Tileyard London community.

Speaking about the project Brabin said “It was amazing to visit Tileyard North and see the exciting opportunities that this development will bring to Wakefield. Seeing the innovation that has come out from Tileyard in London, I know that West Yorkshire can become a creative hub for the North, and I want Wakefield being a huge part of this. The North is going to be one of the biggest centres for growth and culture as we move forward, and exciting developments like Tileyard in Wakefield will help incubate our talented creatives and show our potential to the world.”

The regeneration plan will convert the space into a mixed-use, inclusive, creative and cultural cluster with world class facilities. The site is situated directly opposite the David Chipperfield’s Hepworth Gallery named ‘the most significant and exciting place for sculpture in Europe’. This is the first Tileyard expansion outside of London.

The project represents significant investment by Tileyard and CPP into the buildings to create recording studios, post production studios, flexible workspaces, creative edit suites, an education space, delicious food and beverage offerings and aspirations for a hotel, along with investment into the public realm to form a new 30,000 sqft central courtyard/event space fully open to the public along with a new riverside walkway and improvement to the River Calder flood defences.

Tileyard founders aim to promote creative inclusivity and unification across the North of England. The site will also bridge the gap between the professional creative community in London and the North. The goal is to offer more creative space and opportunities for businesses to grow and flourish in the North, whilst still retaining a relationship and stake in the London creative scene.

Tileyard North will also feature a second site for Tileyard Education, a post-graduate and professional training facility housing a world- class recording studio, tech lab, production songwriting rooms and lecture spaces. Tileyard Education delivers a suite of University validated Postgraduate programmes in Songwriting, Production, Music Business and Design alongside professional songwriting camps and events that connect aspiring creatives with industry professionals.

The investment in this development is estimated to be over £40million and work commenced in April 2020. This has been backed and supported with funding of £2.89 million from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal. Investment has also come from Wakefield Council who have been a major contributor to the project.

During the build the project will generate in excess of 150 construction jobs. Once completed it is estimated the first phase will provide 250+ jobs in the creative, leisure and education sectors, rising to 500+ jobs once the development is completed. Tileyard hopes it will house and support the most innovative creative companies the North has to offer, providing them with a thriving community like no other and access to world class facilities.

Anyone interested in spaces at Tileyard North should contact: info@tileyardnorth.co.uk