What should we spend £1m on?: Bid to give buildings new lease of life

THE search is on for ways to spend nearly £1 million on giving some of Halifax's most dilapidated buildings a new lease of life.

Grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund are being combined with cash from Yorkshire Forward, Action Halifax, Architectural Heritage Fund and Calderdale Council to make projects happen.

"We have already seen significant improvements to a number of properties and there are many more in the process of being transformed," said the council's regeneration and development spokesman, David Kirton.

"Halifax has some lovely buildings and making this money available will not only help revitalise local businesses, but also ensure that we have a town centre which we can continue to be proud."

Councillor Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said the money would give property owners a great opportunity to breathe new life into their buildings.

Money has already been spent on better windows, doors and pointing the Drill Hall Office in Prescott Street, for the Young Persons and Accommodation Support Service.

Part of the former Hope Hall has been re-roofed and the Royal Oak pub has had some stained glass windows restored.

Work has already started on new entrance steps, gates, railings, signs, floodlighting and pointing Square Chapel, roofing, pointing, chimney repairs and replacement windows at 6-8 King Cross Street, and external repairs to Causey Hall, next to the Parish Church.

The area around Horton House will soon be landscaped.

Townscape Heritage Init-iative officer Sheena Campbell said: "Halifax is very fortunate to be one of only a few Yorkshire towns and cities to attract Townscape Heritage Funding from the National Lottery.

"We fought hard to get that funding and now we need to make sure we make the best possible use of it."

"But the chance to apply for a grant is running out as the money must be spent in the next 3 years – property owners need to come forward with ideas and buildings need to be earmarked."

Further details are available on 01422 392256.

If owners of empty, derelict buildings cannot start work themselves they will be encouraged to sell them to a developer who can.

And where owners are uncooperative, the council will consider serving Repair Notices or Compulsory Purchase Orders.

Heritage Works, a registered charity that regenerates historic buildings where the cost of repairs is uneconomic, this week celebrated work starting on the Causey Hall and in Hopwood Lane by baking a cake for the builders.