Dean Clough: Standing proud on our skyline 30 years on...

Chairman of Dean Clough Jeremy Hall outside one of the historic mills.
Chairman of Dean Clough Jeremy Hall outside one of the historic mills.

Chairman of Dean Clough, Jeremy Hall, speaks about the the positive aspects of business in Calderdale and Dean Clough’s as a facilitator for other businesses to go on and find success.

For 30 years the mill complex has been growing and developing new ways to provide spaces for local and national businesses.

With the latest addition being trendy high-street fashion store Jack Wills. But what’s the secret of their success? And what can Calderdale learn from the balancing act of being a successful business complex and home of the arts?

Dean Clough - an iconic sign as you drive into Halifax up to the Orange Street roundabout - for 30 years the same white metal letters have stood out and endured built on solid foundations much like the business and arts complex sitting underneath.

“As a business we strive to do all that we are able to make Dean Clough as a place as appealing, engaging and supportive as we can. For the organisations we have here and those we strive to get here.

“We have an ongoing commitment to investing, improving and developing the spaces, buildings and services at Dean Clough.

“The starting point is trying to create an environment where people want to be and actively engage with.

“We have to manage a balancing act between things that are profit making and things that aren’t such as the artistic endeavours. Certain things are straightforward and provide commercial success others you fund and support through provision of space and that balance is something we are always working on.”

But Jeremy said this wasn’t something that came easily to him when they began running Dean Clough in 1983. The 51-year-old, who lives near Friendly, Sowerby Bridge, sees the importance of the arts in Dean Clough’s attempts to engage with the community.

It now houses the Viaduct Theatre, home of Barrie Rutter’s Northern Broadsides, as well as art galleries and a range of restaurants and cafes.

“My dad was very much focused on the arts and I dealt with the business side of things but this has evolved over the years, It’s about getting people to engage with the site which leads to them investing in it with their ideas.”

Calderdale has seen its own renaissance with the development of Square Chapel and the Piece Hall plus, of course, Broad Street Plaza and the Orangebox.

“It is fabulous to see Broad Street happen. It’s something that the town has really needed and brings in things we’ve been missing like a cinema. It’s a bonus because it adds to the vibrancy and appeal of the town.

“That money is now spent in Halifax at the chain restaurants rather than elsewhere. The Premier Inn is a great thing as the additional accommodation is always a good thing to have.

“Square Chapel is fantastic, the Piece Hall has some wonderful plans in place and Eureka! goes from strength to strength.

“But it’s not just Halifax town centre I’ve seen change in the last 30 years you have things like the Lowfields Business Park, Elland. They are all things that help to broaden the opportunities for people in Halifax.

“So many of those things are about a long term direction of travel. We are certainly going through hard times in terms of the economy but against the odds people have managed to deliver these great projects.”

Jeremy speaks with pride about still being part of Halifax’s landscape 30 years on.

“One of the things I feel is there are so many people who care about Halifax and the community.

“There are some fantastic schools and we are incredibly fortunate with the quality of people we have in the area.”

When it comes to Dean Clough though there are still plans to expand with planned works on A and B mills on top of the recent addition of Jack Wills and Ricci’s Tapas restaurant.

“There is such a fabulous mixture of people and businesses here - I never get bored - and there is still loads to do.”