‘Get out your cheque books’, council plea to businesses

AN appeal has gone out for firms to pledge money for the project to help restore Halifax Piece Hall.

“We are in the same league as York Minister and Stonehenge when it comes to bidding for lottery funds and we must show we have the necessary backing,” said Coun Barry Collins.

He made a personal appeal to the Lloyds Banking Group to throw its considerable financial weight behind the Piece Hall bid and urged other companies to join in.

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

He told the monthly council meeting that the main concerns about it expressed by the Heritage Lottery Fund related to finance.

“The council has put in £2 million but we need to double that to prove we are fully behind the project.

“We are at a crucial stage and we must step up the pace,” said Coun Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixeden).

Given the funding, the council hopes to embark on a £16 million transformation scheme in 2013 to turn the former cloth market into a thriving hub for the town centre.

The cobbled courtyard would be replaced with a Mederranean-style piazza while surrounding shops and structural elements dating from 1779 would be fully restored.

The original board set up to consult on development options has finished its work and the whole project is now being run by the council at the highest level.

l The Courier reported this week that the Heritage Lottery Fund has already put £250,000 into the Piece Hall project and this week rejected a £360,000 bid towards the multi-million pound project in Todmorden.