A £40 million scheme for a 'once-in-a-lifetime transformation' of Halifax town centre is about to move a step forward.
Calderdale Council has prepared more detailed designs showing the proposed improvements across the town centre which will go before Cabinet on October 2.
The major upgrade to the town centre is one part of the Council’s work to reduce congestion on the A629 route between Halifax and Huddersfield and to boost the local economy, under the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund programme.
Councilor Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Halifax is already seeing ground-breaking development, including the transformed Piece Hall and Square Chapel, the new Central Library and Archives and the upcoming university business centre.
“The further proposals are all about complementing these and making it easier to access them and the many other attractions and shops in the town centre.
“We want people to think ‘Wow, this is somewhere we want to live, work and invest’, so throughout the design process we’ve been keen to listen to people. We have taken their comments on board and adjusted the original designs.”
The proposals include better cycling facilities and footpaths; improvements to bus routes; easier ways to get into and around the town centre; a striking public space in between the Piece Hall and the train station; and better links to Dean Clough.
These will bring benefits including over 400 new jobs for local people, reduced congestion, a safer and more attractive environment, and health benefits through better air quality and more active ways of travelling.
Some of the areas being targeted are Church Street, Bank Bottom, Charlestown Road, North Bridge, Broad Street, Market Street, Wards End and Bull Green.
Subject to approvals, the work is due to start on site in early 2019 and be completed by 2021 / 2022.
To achieve the full range of benefits, the Council, subject to Cabinet approval, will need to purchase land.
Negotiations are underway with the landowners to purchase the plots required to deliver the scheme.
Whilst negotiations with landowners are currently underway and are the preferred approach, the Council, subject to Cabinet approval, will start the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process just in case it is needed.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region. The aim is to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.
After the scheme was backed at the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee in June its then chair Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “The transport schemes which the Investment Committee has supported have been designed to achieve the Combined Authority and its partners’ aims of encouraging sustainable economic growth that sees more local people in high quality jobs that they can access easily.
“We have made great progress and over the last few weeks have seen the completion of two West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund schemes and this ongoing programme of investment will enable us to build on that success.”
The Cabinet meeting will be held at 6pm on Monday October 2 2017 at Halifax Town Hall.
(Video courtesy of Calderdale Council: Mark Thomspon Calderdale Council's Director for Economy and Environment talks about the regeneration of Halifax town centre.)