Conserving the past, designing the future

Work on the Piece Hall and Halifax’s new Central Library and Archive has moved a step closer after the £25m contract for the construction work was advertised by Calderdale Council.

The Grade 1 Listed Piece Hall will be restored and revitalised, creating a 21st Century heritage visitor attraction, harnessing the beauty and impact of the building with the addition of a state-of-the-art interpretation and learning centre, a new east extension and a re-designed courtyard.

“This is a significant milestone for the Piece Hall on its journey to become a world class heritage destination,

said Councillor Tim Swift, the Leader of Calderdale Council.

“The Piece Hall is unique and requires significant conservation and restoration experience, while the library will be an iconic, sustainable building and must deliver a first rate service for its users. It is essential we employ the right people with appropriate skills and experience to work on both of these prestigious buildings.”

The new Central Library and Archive has been designed to suit the varied needs of the community. Located on the former Square Church site it will enhance the Cultural Quarter around the Piece Hall, providing a flexible and attractive environment to learn and socialise.

A single main contractor will be appointed to deliver both the transformation of the Piece Hall and build Halifax’s new Central Library to ensure best value and minimise disruption on-site during construction. The contract will be advertised Europe-wide, in line with public sector rules on purchasing. The Council will make sure, within these rules, that the project will bring social benefits to Calderdale, such as supporting local apprenticeships, and that the environmental impact of the project is kept to a minimum.

The multi-million pound development should provide a welcome boost to the local economy. The Council is planning a supplier day so that local businesses can promote themselves to the successful contractor and find out more about the supply chain opportunities within this major regeneration of central Halifax.

Councillor Stephen Baines, Conservative Group Leader said:

“The transformation of the Piece Hall is a fantastic project and will bring so many benefits to Calderdale, for businesses, for visitors and for local people. It is a unique part of our heritage which is so important for our local economy. It’s vital that we continue to value and protect the Piece Hall, now and on behalf of future generations.”

Councillor Janet Battye, Liberal Democrat Group Leader added:

“We’ve reached an exciting stage in the project. Once the main contractor is appointed we will soon see the plans becoming a reality. We are lucky to have such a beautiful building as the Piece Hall in the town and I am really looking forward to seeing how the new Central Library and Archive complements the area. This will be a Cultural Quarter to be proud of!”

The Piece Hall project is being funded by Calderdale Council and a £7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new Central Library and Archive will be wholly funded by the Council.

The Piece Hall and new Central Library and Archive projects, the Arts Council-funded extension at Square Chapel and the MyPlace Orangebox Young Peoples Centre bring the total being invested in central Halifax to almost £40m. The Orangebox will open in September 2013.

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