The progress of plans to transform Halifax town centre will be discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 7 December.
The A629 Phase 2, Halifax town centre project is fully funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and aims to improve pedestrian and cycle access into and within Halifax town centre. It also includes an upgrade of the highway network around the town.
A number of high-quality improvements to the look and feel of the town centre would be introduced, including the proposed pedestrianisation of Market Street. A revised bus network would also be implemented, better connecting the rail and bus stations and improving on-street bus stop facilities.
Following the Grade II listing of the former Hughes Corporation building, designs for the area between the rail station and The Piece Hall have been redeveloped, with the building now incorporated in the plans.
Planning consent has recently been granted for the revised scheme and earlier this month, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority approved progression to the next stage of development. As part of the next steps for the project, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will now discuss the process of acquiring the land needed for the improvement work.
Negotiations are currently underway with the landowners of the required sites and discussions have largely been positive. Members will be asked to note the progress of discussions and approve the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders if required. These would only be used as a last resort, as efforts will continue to negotiate land purchase settlements.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, Cllr Jane Scullion, said: “The proposed improvements in Halifax town centre aim to create safer, more accessible and user-friendly routes, making active travel a more attractive option. The plans not only support our carbon neutral targets, but also the future economic recovery of our towns.
“The latest designs for the scheme, which incorporate the former Hughes Corporation building, have been approved at planning committee and by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which is fully funding the scheme.
“Following final agreements with land owners, we hope that work on the project can start next year with an estimated completion date of 2024. Work will be taking place around the town centre, so we’ll be managing the project in phases to minimise disruption.”
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee and Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Calderdale Council on this scheme, which will make it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
“We want to make it easier for people to travel on foot, by bike and by public transport. This is more important than ever, not only in our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in helping us achieve our aim of becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038.
“The Combined Authority is committed to leading the economic recovery from the pandemic and schemes, such as this one, will play a vital role in helping to create new employment opportunities and support supply industries.”
The project is fully funded through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, which was established in 2014 using the £1 billion Leeds City Region Growth Deal package.
West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund schemes are designed to increase housing, employment and economic growth across the Leeds City Region and include new and expanded highways, improved access corridors and junctions for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles and enhanced provision of parking at rail stations and greater investment in public transport infrastructure.
For more information on the A629 project and other major improvements to transport, public spaces and business premises, visit www.calderdalenextchapter.co.uk
The item will be discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 7 December. This will take place virtually and will be live streamed through Calderdale Council’s YouTube channel from 6pm.