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Ministerial Visits

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

1. When she next plans to visit cultural attractions in Wakefield and west Yorkshire to discuss funding. (74917)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I are aware of the many cultural attractions that grace the Wakefield area, and I was delighted to be in the area recently celebrating the plans for the new Hepworth gallery that is being built there. I know that the Secretary of State will also be visiting the region with the Olympic roadshow in July.

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply, and for his visit to Wakefield to launch the Hepworth trust. Will he join me in congratulating the Yorkshire sculpture park on its recent new commission of James Turell’s fantastic Skyspace deer shelter in the park? It is the first major commission by the national art collection since Rodin’s Burghers of Calais, which stands outside this place. Will my hon. Friend pencil into his forward diary the opening of the new Hepworth gallery in Wakefield city centre in 2008? It will regenerate a swath of our historic waterfront and attract visitors from all over the world to our proud city.

I know that my hon. Friend is doing a huge amount to promote culture and the arts in her region, and we are very grateful to her for that. When I was up in Wakefield, everyone was talking about the sculpture park and the Skyscape, and particularly about the way in which the three elements—the landscape, the architecture and the sculpture—combine to make the park really wonderful. I look forward to visiting it soon, and we have of course pencilled into the diary the coming to fruition of the Hepworth later on.