WORK to transform Halifax’s historic Piece Hall has moved a step closer after the scheme was granted planning permission.
The £18.9m project, which will see extensive conservation work carried out on the 230-year-old Grade I listed building, was awarded £7m by the Heritage Lottery Fund in July.
The project will also see the addition of a new visitor and heritage interpretation centre, improvements to the shop units and the addition of five new lifts.
Major changes to the courtyard, including the addition of two water features, are also planned. Alterations to the dramatic slope are intended to make it easier for a wide variety of events to take place, and will greatly improve access across the site, Calderdale Council said.
The plans also call for a new extension on the outside of the east elevation, which will allow full-scale restaurants to operate.
Council leader Tim Swift said: “I am delighted that the (planning) committee has granted planning permission to the project.
“The Piece Hall is at the heart of the regeneration of central Halifax.
“The conservation work, the changes to the courtyard and the new build work can now proceed as planned.
“It gives the building a viable future and will allow the Piece Hall to be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Work on the site is expected to start late next year and will be completed in early 2015, when the hall will be transferred to a historic buildings trust.
The Piece Hall Trust is being created as part of the transformation project, with Wayne Bowser, a former director of HSBC, appointed as its first chairman.
“The appointment of Wayne Bowser as chair of the trust is a critical and exciting element of the project and we welcome him to the Piece Hall project,” Coun Swift said.
“His experience and commercial knowledge will help drive the future success of the Piece Hall.”
Mr Bowser said: “It is a privilege to be involved in this prestigious project. I am looking forward to working with partners to make this stunning heritage attraction a must-see destination for the region.”
Then aims include the creation of state-of-the-art heritage interpretation and learning centres.