Make the town hall a ‘vis­i­tor at­trac­tion’

Halifax Courier - - Yourcourier - By ian hirst

The first steps to de­velop a strat­egy for a greater pub­lic and com­mu­nity ac­cess to Hal­i­fax’s his­toric town hall will be dis­cussed by coun­cil­lors.

A pa­per to be dis­cussed by Calderdale Coun­cil’s Cab­i­net on Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 15, em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of recog­nis­ing the Town Hall as a her­itage and cul­tural vis­i­tor at­trac­tion for the whole of Calderdale and for Hal­i­fax in par­tic­u­lar, in ad­di­tion to its im­por­tant civic role.

Cab­i­net will be asked to agree to de­tailed mar­ket re­search on the com­ple­men­tary use of the build­ing to en­cour­age vis­i­tor num­bers, in­clud­ing pos­si­ble craft fairs and other events, and the op­por­tu­nity to gen­er­ate in­come with a gift shop, and that re­sources be iden­ti­fied for this re­view.

Calderdale Coun­cil’s Cab­i­net mem­ber for busi­ness im­prove­ment and re­sources, Coun­cil­lor Bryan Smith, said: “Hal­i­fax Town Hall is an im­por­tant and at­trac­tive civic build­ing which should be used and ap­pre­ci­ated by vis­i­tors and lo­cal peo­ple alike. And it needs to be pro­moted as an im­por­tant part of Calderdale’s vis­i­tor of­fer.

“This re­port is the first step in work­ing out how we can make the most of it.

“There are is­sues to be sorted out about how the hall can be used.

“For ex­am­ple there are prob­lems with ac­cess to some parts, and the lay­out of meet­ing rooms around the Vic­to­ria Hall does cre­ate is­sues.

“When the re­fur­bish­ment of Princess Build­ing is com­pleted, the coun­cil can of­fer bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties for many meet­ings that now take place in the Town Hall, and this gives rise to new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“That’s why this is the right time for this de­tailed work to start.”

The im­pres­sive 19th Cen­tury build­ing could soon to be home to a gift shop as part of ef­forts to find new uses and raise rev­enue for Calderdale Coun­cil.

The au­thor­ity is set to launch a re­view into how the grade II listed build­ing can at­tract vis­i­tors and host events while con­tin­u­ing to per­form its role as the home to coun­cil of­fices and meet­ings.

How­ever, the re­port to be con­sid­ered by se­nior coun­cil­lors next week ad­mits that pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sions have failed to come up with a clear plan.

The main ob­sta­cle is the lay­out of the Sir Charles Barry-de­signed build­ing which makes it hard to use spa­ces for events with­out in­ter­fer­ing in the nor­mal busi­ness of coun­cil work­ers and coun­cil­lors.

l How should the Town Hall be used? Email: your­say@ hal­i­fax­courier.co.uk

New uses for Hal­i­fax Town Hall? In­set left: Coun­cil­lor Bryan Smith

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