Plans for the park? Your ideas wanted on Grade II listed park

Thornes Park college campus

Thornes Park college campus

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A little-used college campus in the heart of Thornes Park could be redeveloped into housing or a care facility.

Wakefield College has been working with developer Panacea to explore ideas for the regeneration of the site.

College bosses say the 10-acre campus, which is only partly in use, costs around £0.5 million per year to run.

And its sale would generate additional funds to contribute to the ongoing development of a £6.6m higher education centre in the city as well as reinvestment at its Castleford site.

John Foster, deputy principal and finance director, said: “Although we do not have a long term interest in the campus, we are at the heart of the community so we do have an interest in what happens to the site after we leave.

“It is a lovely campus and a lovely park and we don’t want to walk away from the site and just leave it to anybody.”

Mr Foster said a residential development and a care facility and accommodation were among ideas the college and Manchester-based company Panacea Property Development were considering.

Panacea said it wanted to create “a long-lasting positive legacy” at the Grade-II listed park.

And both parties said they would work with stakeholders and community groups to ensure the development benefits park users and local people.

Panacea managing director Neil Patten said: “The site has such great potential and any proposals we put forward for consideration will be very much design-led to ensure the integrity of the surrounding park is retained.”

Speaking to the Express last year, chairman of The Friends of Clarence, Holmefield and Thornes Park group (CHaTs) Ian Deighton voiced concerns that development could “destroy” the park.

And vice-chairman Chris Welch said they would fight to ensure whatever development takes place does not have “an adverse impact” on the facility and local community.

The college and developer will work alongside community engagement company Hometown Plus to carry out a consultation.

Director Mike Riddell said, alongside the development, they hoped to work with organisations which already have a stake in the public space to help them access more funding to improve it further.

Ideas include the creation of a heritage centre, the restoration of the rose garden and the creation of an amphitheatre.

Mr Riddell said: “It is not about encroaching on the park, it is about enhancing the park.”

The following public consultation sessions, all beginning at 6.30pm, will be held to discuss the development of the campus:

l September 14, Horbury Methodist Church

l September 15, Wakefield College Thornes Park Campus

l September 21, Ossett War Memorial Community Centre

l September 22, Jubilee Hall, Townley Road

l September 23, Wrenthorpe Village Hall

l September 26, Wakefield Methodist Church