New £9.25m library set to give cultural quarter bid a boost

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Details of Halifax’s new £9.25m library have been unveiled as part of a vision to create a cultural quarter in the town centre.

Calderdale’s new central library and archive will be housed in a contemporary building that will envelope the grade II* listed Square Church spire and the remaining standing archaeology of Square Church. It will incorporate the remains of the church, such as the rose window, into the design of the building, creating a combination of historic and contemporary architecture.

Calderdale Council’s leader, Councillor Tim Swift, said: “Calderdale’s new central library and archive is part of our exciting vision for a vibrant cultural quarter in Halifax town centre. The development will bring fantastic, state-of-the-art facilities for the community whilst making the most of our wonderful heritage, supporting the Piece Hall transformation and incorporating Square Chapel and Orangebox.”

If planning permission is granted later this year, it is hoped development can begin on site next spring and that the new facility will open in the autumn 2015. The building will have four floors accommodating a range of services including local studies, West Yorkshire Archives and a children’s library.

It will also include an area for 13- to 16-year-olds, alongside a digital media area, a small meeting room in the library and more rooms available in the adjacent Piece Hall extension. The library will be accessed from Square Road or through the Piece Hall via the new fourth gateway – terraced steps and public lift – that will be part of the new building.

A public space will be created between the new facility and the former Industrial Museum. In addition, there is a budget set for external work to the former Industrial Museum, which will improve the facade and stop water ingress to prevent any further deterioration of the premises. There will also be disabled car parking spaces and a lay-by for use by the access bus in front of the building on Square Road.

The controversial decision was taken last year to close the town centre library and relocate it next to Piece Hall in a new building.