Exclusive interview: New chair appointed as Piece Hall opening nears

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“Long-term success, not short-term excitement.”

That’s the verdict from Roger Marsh OBE as he take the reins as the new chairman of the Piece Hall Trust, the independent charity tasked with operating the Piece Hall when it opens. The historic building will throw its gates open on Yorkshire Day following a multi-million pound transformation.

Piece Hall, Halifax.

Piece Hall, Halifax.

Since 2013, Mr Marsh has been chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the public/private sector partnership promoting the Leeds City Region’s interests on a national and international scale.

He brings more than 30 years of business recovery, turnaround and insolvency experience to the role, and in 2015 was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to business and the economy.

Mr Marsh described the building - the only surviving cloth hall in the UK - as “intoxicating” and a venue which could become the “Covent Garden of the North”.

He said: “I think it has got a very exciting future.

“We are quietly optimistic we’ve got the right cocktail of offerings.

“What we’re attempting to do is to have a re-opening on August 1, with sufficient things to attract and interest people but to build it up until Christmas.”

Nine tenants have already been confirmed, with more expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Mr Marsh said a “quality” approach has been taken, rather than “fill it as quickly as possible” and that it needed to be set up for long-term success, rather than short-term excitement, as well as being an attraction people from Halifax and beyond would want to visit regularly.

Looking ahead to the future of The Piece Hall, Mr Marsh said he sees no reason why the iconic venue could not host significant events,

“The transformation of The Piece Hall is already attracting significant investment into Halifax and it has the potential to boost the economy across the whole of Calderdale and the wider region,” he said.