NOW is the chance to say what you want for the Piece Hall.
By October 7, Calderdale Council wants to have a clear idea of the strength of public support for the final plan to turn the iconic building into a unique visitor attraction.
A huge survey is underway, the results of which could persuade the Heritage Lottery Fund to give its backing to the £16 million project to turn it into a fully-functioning town square that is open all hours.
Artists’ impressions are being widely circulated along with a questionnaire, a copy of which has been included in today’s Courier (page 18).
The success of the Piece Hall project depends on how well the various elements can be made to work together to ensure the listed building has a sustainable future.
The council needs to know how important you think it is to stage events throughout the year, whether it is necessary to have a range of independent shops and businesses based there and better access.
Planners would like to extend the opening hours into the evening, provide access through Square Chapel arts centre and the new Orange Box youth centre.
Designers want to pave and level the middle of the courtyard to make it easier to stage events and relay the cobbles around the edge.
People are also being asked about the importance of having a water feature, greenery and an Interpretation Centre so that visitors can understand more about the lives of the people who have used the Piece Hall over the past two centuries.
Calderdale Council is also directly consulting hundreds of people who make up its own “Talkback” panel. They will have to submit their suggestions by September 20 but the general public will have until October 7 to pass on their suggestions.
It was originally intended to put in a fourth gateway on the south side of the building to encourage people to come in from Eureka and the railway station but the proposal will not form part of the bid to be submitted for lottery funding next March.
Refurbishing the shops and fitting glass doors to make them lighter and more inviting is on the cards as are improvements to the lifts and staircases.
The total cost is estimated to be £16 million with £7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Council currently plans to put forward £2 million into the scheme while a further £3 million will be raised from fundraising.
Council chiefs will meet next week to discuss a possible increase to the council’s contribution and other methods of fundraising.
Construction work is planned to begin in October 2013 and be completed by the autumn of 2015.