Make the town hall a ‘visitor attraction’
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