'Spend market profit in-house'

PRESSURE is growing on councillors to plough more of the £600,000 profit made each year by Halifax Borough Market back into restoring the building.

Until now, most of the income from rents has been used to subsidise other services and council tax bills.

The Grade 2 listed Victorian landmark was named the best market hall in England in 2008.

A year later its chimneys were found to be unstable, threatening to topple through the roof.

Since then, 640,000 has been spent on repairing them.

"There are concerns about the fabric of the building and a full condition survey has been undertaken," according to Calderdale Council's scrutiny support officer Steve Barnbrook.

"But numerous reports have shown there is a need to resolve that issue and the under-utilisation of the residential properties above the market hall."

As well as 100 stalls and 27 shops around the exterior there are two high-level streets of three-storey houses, including a nine-bedroomed former hotel and guest house.

Most of the other properties which have between three and seven bedrooms are empty and require modernising.

A year ago, experts recommended the properties be converted into smaller homes or for officse and leisure.

The council's economy and environment panel will be asked tomorrow to make recommendations about them and to tackle the under-investment in the market, built in the 1890s.

All stalls and shops in the market are nearly always occupied, employing 500 people and attract about 5.5 million visitors a year.

*Should more be spent on the markets? Email yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk