Controversial Halifax building earmarked for demolition granted listed status

The building on 31 Square Road, Halifax, known most recently as the Hughes Corporation,
The building on 31 Square Road, Halifax, known most recently as the Hughes Corporation,

A building Calderdale Council wants to demolish as part of key highway improvement works has been listed by Historic England.

Last week planning councillors were mindful to approve improvement works for the town centre and the A629 route which include creating a new public area called the Piece Garden opposite the Piece Hall and improving bus, cycle and pedestrian facilities.

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The works form the second of five phases of a comprehensive scheme to provide a multi-modal transport corridor between Halifax and Huddersfield represent around £2.9 million of investment from the council and partners including the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

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But the scheme, which has been referred to the Secretary of State for Housing, Community and Local Government for determination, includes demolition of 31 Square Road, Halifax, known most recently as the Hughes Corporation, which dates back to 1864, a move opposed by Historic England and the West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service, supported by other groups including Halifax Civic Trust and Halifax Antiquarian Society.

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Councillors were told that the then pending appeal did not have a bearing on making their decision.

Now Historic England has made its decision and given the building Grade II listed status, perhaps making demolition more difficult.

Historic England’s summary of the building last used as bar and diner the Hughes Corporation, says the building was originally a pair of wool warehouses designed by John Hogg for Isaac Cooper and John Crossley, on a triangular plan and faced with buff sandstone.

The reasons given for designation include that architecturally the building is a good example of an 1860s commercial warehouse, which is highly decorative and quite unusual for Halifax, while John Hogg is architect of several listed buildings to his name and there is a good degree of survival including most of the original external decorative detailing, the cast-iron structural elements and much of the spine wall.

Historically it is associated with prominent Halifax industrialist – John Crossley and Sons carpets at Dean Clough – and philanthropist John Crossley and in group value terms it has a strong visual and functional relationship with other nearby buildings including Square Chapel, the Piece Hall, India Building and buildings on Deal Street.

A full history of the building can be found online at https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1461524 on Historic England’s website.

Historic England concludes: “This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.”

Calderdale Council’s proposed development includes around 14 hectares of land within Halifax town centre and if given the go-ahead will consist of three main phases, the Eastern Corridor, the Western Corridor and the Central Area, with a number of major interventions in each.