Major Halifax town centre development project given funding green light

Northgate House, Halifax
Northgate House, Halifax

Plans to turn former council offices and a library building in the centre of Halifax into a complex including 40 apartments, office floor space and retail have moved closer after millions of pounds of funding was agreed.

Calderdale Council wants to develop its old offices as part of wider plans which would see the nearby former Central Library building turned into a sixth form college for at least 600 students.

An artist's impression of how the development might look

An artist's impression of how the development might look

If it goes ahead, the scheme could create or protect as many as 336 jobs and lead to improvements to the local area which council officials hope would bring "increased confidence amongst businesses to invest and higher levels of footfall".

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority investment committee this week agreed to progress the project to the next stage, where a business case will be put together.

Approval has been given for the authority to provide £3m from its Local Growth Fund for the scheme, rather than just a £1.3m loan, once it has progressed further and further cost appraisals have been carried out.

The authority, which is responsible for promoting regional growth in the county, has already paid Calderdale Council £300,000 of this as a loan.

A combined authority report said: "Appraisal evidence shows whilst the market in Halifax is challenging, bringing forward office accommodation in smaller units could be manageable and targeting convenience and independent retailers to align with the need."

It added: "Previous options to demolish the building and present a cleared site to the market have been considered and discussions with potential pre-let occupiers was unsuccessful. The commercial market in Halifax did not support these options."

A major regeneration plan to turn Northgate House and Halifax Central Library into a retail complex was scrapped last year.

Calderdale Council entered into an agreement with Leeds-based Oakapple Group to spearhead a retail development in 2015, but the contact was terminated after the units were not taken up.