We have no Plan B for Piece Hall, say chiefs

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PLANS to restore the Piece Hall with the help a £7 million Lottery grant have taken another step forward.

But council leaders admitted that if the bid fails, there is no Plan B.

Calderdale Council Cabinet recommended the council endorses a vision for the Piece Hall which it is hoped will make it a major catalyst for economic regeneration.

The cabinet has also advised that £4.8 million should be taken from the council’s reserves and that it borrows another £4.8 million towards the total cost of the project, now estimated at £19 million.

When completed, the building will be transferred to a trust which will continue to have financial support from the council.

Asked what might happen if the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund fails, the council’s Lib-Dem leader Janet Battye told the cabinet that the priority was to finalise the existing bid and put it to the fund in March.

“There is no Plan B but a lot of background work has been done. We hope we are successful,” she said.

Economy and environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said the council had considered what might happen if the bid failed.

“But the whole of the council is concentrating on the bid at this moment on the basis that we will win.”

The Piece Hall’s success will support, and be supported, by other nearby schemes. These include the construction of the Orangebox young people’s centre which is scheduled for completion this year and the construction of the new Square Chapel extension, planned for 2013.

These, and other developments, are designed to strengthen civic pride, confidence and Halifax’s reputation as a business district, driving inward investment.

Work would be expected to commence on the Piece Hall transformation in the summer of 2013.