60s shops in Halifax are earmarked for demolition

Empty shops on Broad Street, Halifax, facing demolition.
Empty shops on Broad Street, Halifax, facing demolition.

A 1960s architectural landmark in the heart of Halifax could soon be bulldozed to make way for a car park.

It is a row of two-storey shops in Upper Broad Street which originally stood directly opposite the town’s Crossfields bus station, until that transferred to Northgate.

As a retail location it has always struggled to gain popularity among shoppers and most of the units, including a nightclub, have been empty for years.

So the owners of the property have applied to Calderdale Council for planning permission to demolish the concrete structure which contains at least six separate units.

“They are looking very tired and dated, and their long term prospects need to be considered carefully in terms of future development for the area,” according to the design statement prepared for Brian Holmes, of Norwood Green, who wants to pull them down.

“It is clear that the shops have very limited use and the probability of them being leased is virtually non-existent.”

Agents Walker Singleton acting on behalf of the owner say the site would stand a better chance of attracting investors if it was cleared.

The former Revival nightclub has been on the market for eight years without any offers being received.

In recent years, a gym and a clothing shop have operated from the row and a restaurant backing onto The Yorkshire Bank continues to trade.

At the opposte end of the row is the Red Peppar restaurant, which is unaffected by the demolition proposal.

“The building needs massive investment to bring the units up to current retail standards and in addition, the facade detracts from the street scene due to its prominent position.”

Once cleared, the site is expected to provide 20 parking places shielded from the main road by a metal fence.

Access would be at the rear, along John Street.

At the lower end of Broad Street is the new Plaza where eateries, a gym, a cinema and the Premier Inn Hotel is due to open on October 22.

A hotel could have been built at Upper Broad Street in the early 1960s if plans by O & C Estates had come to fruition.
Instead, Halifax Corporation joined forces with County and District Properties to build a supermarket, shops and a seven-storey office block on the site, now known as Crown House.
Work began on the £250,000 development in late 1967 and it was completed in February 1969.
The first business to open was the WB Supermarket but it quickly ran into problems.
Because the premises were directly opposite the former Crossfields bus station, many customers used to dash across Broad Street rather than use the new pedestrian subways.
Recognising the danger, the council put up safety barriers and trade was slashed to the extent that the store closed in June 1971.
The debate over the railings continued for years but they remained in place.
A bingo hall opened in 1971 and the Scene Three and Four discotheque, which later went on to become The Studio, Fat Freddy’s and the Revival nightclub.
Other businesses struggled to attract customers.