Switch of funding for £1.8m Minster plans

Rev Hilary Barber at Halifax Parish Church.
Rev Hilary Barber at Halifax Parish Church.

Plans to redevelop Halifax Minster are still going ahead, despite issues with funding.

The church had been working with the Big Lottery to secure funding – but found out last year it will now have to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) instead.

Vicar of Halifax Hilary Barber said: “We were in conversation with the Big Lottery and we had to produce three drafts of a bid for them.

“Just before Christmas they concluded we were not a community project but we were a heritage project.

“I was disappointed they didn’t come to their conclusion nine months earlier but we were already in touch with the HLF over the organ restoration bid. We have now combined the two bids.”

When the initial bid was announced last year, plans were revealed to remove two rows of 17th century pews to create a new stage area at the front of the church.

Architect Nicholas Rank, of Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams, who has worked on Lincoln Cathedral, will oversee the redevelopment.

He has begun drawing up plans for the stage and an extension to the north side of the Grade 1 listed building to create extra space.

Mr Barber said: “The past 12 months have been a year of going through some of the development work and preparation work for the new bid.” Much of that has involved putting together a team to work on producing a bid, including Simon Walton, from Riley accountants, who is on board as a tax advisor; Nick Worsnop, from Chadwick Lawrence, as legal advisor and Steve Duncan, from the Community Foundation for Calderdale to assist with the bid and match funding.

The Stage One bid for £1.8 million will be submitted to the HLF on June 1 and a response is expected by September.