Progress made on £20m investment programme for three towns

An update on major works to revitalise three towns in Calderdale will be presented for consideration by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.

Investment as part of the Future High Streets Fund in Halifax and Elland and Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) funding in Sowerby Bridge is intended to revitalise these towns and support the borough’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Work is moving forward on all three schemes and at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on 8 August, members will note what each project has achieved to date and consider the next steps.

In December 2020, the council was awarded funding of £18m from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of the Future High Streets Fund, to support town centre improvements in Halifax and Elland (£11.7m and £6.3m respectively).

Significant work has been taking place since the funding announcement and these projects are now progressing through the detailed design stages.

In Halifax, the work is focused on delivering priorities including supporting the revitalisation of key historic buildings, developing connectivity through the town, improving public spaces and increasing opportunities to live in the town centre.

The project scopes include major improvements to Halifax Borough Market and the Victoria Theatre, as well as investment in George Square and the historic alleyways, linking to the top of the town.

In Elland, projects include pedestrianisation of the Southgate area to make it feel safer, look more attractive and encourage new business and increased footfall.

Funding has also been allocated to improve Market Square and refurbishment work is planned for local community asset building, the Cartwheel Club.

Plans are also in place to reconfigure road layouts and introduce new and widened pavements.

Funding of £1.8m was secured from Historic England in 2020 for the Sowerby Bridge High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) programme.

The programme has been progressing since this time and has included work on the Fire & Water complex (the former council offices, swimming pool and fire station) and the Old Town Hall.

A further scheme to improve the junction of Hollins Mill Lane and Town Hall Street is due to complete over the coming months.

Remaining elements of the HAZ programme concentrate on grant allocations to small businesses on the high street to enable improvements to shopfronts and further community engagement.

It is recommended that the council’s Cabinet approve the work programme for each project and formally accepts the associated grant funding.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for towns, engagement and public health, Councillor Sarah Courtney, said: “Investment in strong and resilient towns is one of the council’s three corporate priorities which support the delivery of our Vision 2024 for Calderdale.

“As many of the projects or proposals for the FHSF and HAZ schemes reach key milestones, it’s important that we’re able to assess the progress to date and ensure the next steps fully support our vision for the future of these towns.

“All the projects associated with this funding support the revitalisation of our town centres, with much of the work focused on our historic buildings and community spaces.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...