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Contest may save Halifax Piece Hall

The future of Halifax's famous Grade-I listed Piece Hall could be decided through an international design competition.

Calderdale Council has revealed that it wants to bring in a 'world-class architect' to revitalise the hall, which has featured in films such as Brassed Off, and is already in discussion with the RIBA's competition office about launching a contest.

Regional development agency Yorkshire Forward is understood to have promised £300,000 to fund the competition, having backed the idea to find a team to revamp the landmark building.

Piece Hall is occupied by a number small shops and is used for occasional markets, but its future has been in doubt for years.

The building, which was designed by Thomas Bradley and opened in 1779 as a replacement for the Cloth Hall, was described by Pevsner as Halifax's 'most noteworthy monument'.

The competition brief is likely to focus on how to rejuvenate the area surrounding the hall and link the nearby Square Chapel Arts Centre and the former Calderdale Industrial Museum with the colonnaded building.

A spokesman for the RIBA's competition office confirmed that negotiations were continuing with the council and that an appointment to handle the competition was expected later this month.

by Richard Waite

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