Plans for library and archive to revive town centre win approval

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Plans for the new Central Library and Archive in Halifax have won approval.

The scheme, which also includes a fourth gate for the historic Piece Hall, secured backing from members of Calderdale Council’s planning committee.

The Secretary of State will now be asked to grant listed building consent, which is needed before the development can get underway.

Leader of Calderdale Council, Coun Tim Swift said: “I’m delighted that the plans have reached this stage. This development is a major part of our vision to regenerate Halifax town centre by investing in the full range of leisure, retail and cultural facilities.

“The new library and archive will be a striking and impressive building which provides fantastic, state-of-the-art facilities for the community.

“At the same time it will support the Piece Hall transformation, help create a new pedestrian route from the station to the town centre, and significantly regenerate the area whilst complementing and supporting our wonderful heritage.”

Following changes made with English Heritage, the new Central Library will be more prominent, as the building will be closer to Square Road than originally planned.

It is hoped that it will attract visitors as they head towards Halifax’s town centre.

People will have a clear view of the new library on the approach to the Piece Hall as the railings which currently face Square Road will be removed and steps will lead up to the library and the new fourth gate of the Piece Hall. Access will also be available via a lift, which has now been added to the new building, taking people from Square Road to the Central Library and Archive entrance.

Subject to approval from the Secretary of State it is hoped that work will begin on site during spring 2014 and that the new facility will open its doors two years later.

Four people objected to the library scheme, with one claiming it was “totally unnecessary” to demolish the existing library. Six people raised concerns about the Piece Hall and Square Church plans, with four in support.

English Heritage has stated that the form of the scheme would not harm the setting of Square Chapel and the Piece Hall.