Questions remain over the future plans for Calderdale Magistrates Court as developers face challenges with the building.
A new partnership between creative development agency, IVE, and property regeneration specialists, Thomas Lister, are looking to help potential suitors develop the Grade II listed building.
The businesses recently hosted a creative re-imaging event for property developers from across Yorkshire, to discuss new ideas for the future of the site..
The one day hosted interested stakeholders from the private, public and third sectors including; residential and commercial property developers, hoteliers, individuals involved in Yorkshire tourism, representatives from Calderdale council and local universities. It involved a tour of the building and a series of workshops designed to place those present in a more open, creative and innovative mind set.
Rachel Lister, director at Thomas Lister, added: “The event was a huge success and we’re very pleased with some of the ideas discussed for potential future uses for the building that incorporate its aesthetic strengths and tie in with Calderdale Council’s future plans for growing the appeal of Halifax as a business and tourism destination using its strong heritage and legacy.
“Our next steps will be to approach interested parties with some of the more promising ideas and look to secure a buyer that will turn this marvellous building into another Piece Hall or Square Chapel.”
The Halifax Magistrates’ Court building, which was built in 1898, was closed in September 2016 as part of a government efficiency review which identified many old and underused buildings, whose upkeep was a significant burden on the taxpayer compared with their practical use.
Its ownership passed to the Homes Agency, who have expressed a requirement that anyone interested in purchasing the magnificent building, needs to present a sustainable plan for its future use that preserves the listed features and also brings value to the surrounding community.
The Magistrates’ Court is a challenging building to develop due to a number of factors including; its large size, the very complicated almost maze like layout - including the cells in the basement - and its inefficient energy management system. However, its close proximity to Halifax city centre and beautiful ornate features also make it an attractive opportunity for a newly energised Halifax.
Rosi Lister, chief executive at IVE said: “Prior to this event, most of the conversations I’ve had about the Magistrates’ Court have focused on the problems, but after the tour and workshops it was amazing to hear the conversations admiring the beautiful oak panelling, plaster ceiling decoration and stained glass, as well as the magnificent proportion of the windows letting light flood in and the awesome fireplaces with ornate timber mantles and beaten copper hoods.
The insurmountable problems faded away and instead people opened up to imagining the possibilities of what it could be used for, everything from boutique hotels to a creative hub to an interactive gaming venue.”