Backstage Academy plans to convert malt house into student homes

Wakefield Waterfront
Wakefield Waterfront

An academy wants to convert a former malt house into student accommodation and teaching space.

Backstage Academy, which runs degree level courses in the creative arts, has submitted plans to convert Waterfront House on Thornes Lane to expand on the number of courses it offers.

The plans include creating 74 new bedrooms, half of which would be en-suite, and retaining the existing car park which has 28 bays.

Office space and a reception have also been proposed as part of the plans.

The application has been recommended for approval at Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee meeting on Thursday.

Wakefield West Coun Hilary Mitchell objected to the plans claiming the area is vulnerable to flooding and would not normally be considered suitable for development.

She said: “The proposed building is on an industrial estate opposite Pickup Skips.

“Pickups do clean up but they cannot prevent making a mess in the first place.

“It is difficult to see how anyone could teach or learn or live comfortably in this environment. Pickups have operated from this site for the past 40 years.

“To place any restrictions on their opening hours will have a serious impact on their business.”

Two letters of objection have been made on behalf of Pickup Skips, which claimed the development would not be suitable for the surrounding area.

Backstage Academy is based in South Kirkby and has links with Wakefield Theatre Royal and Wakefield College.

It uses training spaces at the Wakefield Wildcats’ ground and at Unity Works.

The building was originally used as a malt house has more recently been used for office space, storage, a gymnasium and a print shop.