‘Help us if you can’ - plea for Piece Hall restoration cash

Artists impression of what the Piece hall could look like - image 1 by Iain Denby'N.B. EMBARGOED UNTILL JULY 30
Artists impression of what the Piece hall could look like - image 1 by Iain Denby'N.B. EMBARGOED UNTILL JULY 30

A CONSULTANT has been appointed by the council to raise money to help restore the Piece Hall.

It will be his job to badger individuals, companies, trusts and foundations.

More cash is needed to help bridge a funding gap which threatens to undermine the £16 million project designed to revamp the historic building.

Calderdale Council had been replying on the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, to provide a large slice of the money needed to support a huge lottery bid.

But the agency has been scrapped and the council has already earmarked £2.2 million.

“It might be necessary that the council’s contribution to the project is increased as it moves into the construction phase,” according to community services director Robin Tuddenham.

“The cost consultant is reviewing the full capital cost of the project,” he told councillors.

The council is due to submit its final bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March and needs to show that it is financially viable.

It also needs to show there is widespread public backing which means another round of public consultation that will begin early next month.

People will be asked to give their views on the designs for the courtyard, a fourth gateway into the Piece Hall, and plans for nearby sites including Square Chapel Spire and approaches to the building from Westgate, Woolshops and Blackledge.

“This is a significant piece of work and it will be the public’s first opportunity to comment on the proposals since the first bid was submitted two years ago,” said Mr Tuddenham in a report to the council’s communities panel.

The council should find out whether it’s final lottery bid is successful in July, then construction work can begin in October 2013 and should be completed in the autumn of 2015.

Councillor Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) has made a personal appeal to the Lloyds Banking Group to throw its considerable financial weight behind the Piece Hall bid.

The council’s economy and environment spokesman said there was nothing more important to the council than this project.

“We are at a crucial stage and we must step up the pace,” he said.

The plan for the 220-year-old building is to replace the cobbled courtyard with a Mediterranean-style piazza while the surrounding shops and structural elements would be completely restored.

The main aim is to encourage more people to use the unique grade one listed building.