Leeds & West Yorkshire

Halifax's Piece Hall tourist attraction records £900k losses

Piece Hall Halifax
Image caption The Grade I-listed Piece Hall in the centre of Halifax was built in 1779

A renovated 18th Century cloth trading hall has recorded losses of almost £900,000, its second deficit in two years of operation.

Halifax's Piece Hall Trust recorded a £897,000 deficit during 2018-19, its accounts show.

A £22m restoration began in 2014 before the building re-opened in 2017.

The trust said the losses at the Grade I-listed building, which has had more than five million visitors in under three years, were expected.

The deficit, shown in the annual accounts for the year ending March 31, 2019, is in line with the budget, the trust added.

An independent report in December said it generated about £7m annually for the local economy.

Image copyright Simon Dewhurst
Image caption The renovated building opened on 1 August, Yorkshire Day, in 2017

Roger Marsh, chairman of the trust, said: "Much has been made about the trust's losses, but these initial losses were planned for.

"The Trust Board and Calderdale Council signed up to this model to kick-start the town's regeneration."

The latest deficit is about £40,000 higher than the previous year but improvements should be seen when problems have been ironed out, the Local Democracy Reporting Service confirmed.

Future events include concerts by Kaiser Chiefs, Richard Hawley, and The Specials will leave the trust in a strong position, said chief executive Nicky Chance-Thompson.

The hall costs £6,000 a day to run.

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The building was built in 1779 as a trading centre for handloom weavers selling "pieces" of locally-made cloth.

The original 315 units in the arcades (once used for storing and trading the cloth) now contain new shops, cafes and offices.

The hall reflects the important historical role played by the woollen trade in the town.

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