The Piece Hall is crowned ‘Great Place’ 2022

The Piece Hall in Halifax has been named the winner of The Great Place 2022 in The Academy of Urbanism’s (AoU) Urbanism Awards (2022).

The awards recognise the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments. The accolade was presented to CEO of The Piece Hall Trust, Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, at a ceremony in London earlier this week. 

Part of the award presentation included a poem about The Piece Hall, written especially for the occasion, by AoU Poet-in-Residence and proud Yorkshireman Ian McMillan.

The award process is incredibly thorough, involving an initial nomination, a long list, a shortlist and culminating in a full day assessment visit by a number of experienced Academicians.

The Piece Hall was assessed on factors like leadership and governance, local character, amenity, commercial success and viability, environmental sustainability, community, health and wellbeing and connectivity.

Reopened in 2017 after an extensive transformation supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Calderdale Council, The Piece Hall is the only remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world. Today, this unique site is a vibrant heritage, learning, leisure and retail destination which hosts iconic arts, music and community events.

This year alone, events have included the Live at The Piece Hall summer gig series with stars like Duran Duran, Paloma Faith, Tom Jones, Noel Gallagher and Nile Rodgers. World-renowned sculptor Sophie Ryder exhibited a number of her large-scale, powerful and emotive sculptures. There have been multiple community events including an iftar, Mela, South Asian Heritage Festival Opening Event, Calderdale Pride plus Platinum Jubilee celebration, as well as regular heritage tours, school workshops and arts and crafts sessions.  

Earlier this year, The Piece Hall celebrated the fifth anniversary of its reopening with the news it had already welcomed more than 10.5 million visitors.

Chair of The Piece Hall Trust, Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, said: 

“What a proud moment for The Piece Hall Trust, Calderdale and Yorkshire, receiving this accolade from respected peers in place making and urban design. This is recognition of all the great work being done by the Trust and its many partners in bringing this magnificent heritage asset to life. So much hard work, passion and commitment has gone into this transformation which has now enriched the lives not only of local communities but of visitors who come from near and far to experience its unique offer.”

CEO of The Piece Hall Trust, Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, said: 

“I was so proud and incredibly moved to accept this amazing accolade from such a highly respected organisation on behalf of the Board, team and tenant community.

“Great place-making takes a real mix of important ingredients – a vision, a plan, commitment, passion and a lot of hard work, but above all the ability to harness the power of people, because ultimately people make places.

“This unique recipe has created something really special at The Piece Hall which is now a magnetic place for talent, ideas, creativity and activity. People are drawn to be a part of it and just to visit and enjoy. 

“We are grateful to our many supportive partners. Our transformation and ongoing success wouldn’t have been possible without Calderdale Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund who share our ambition and have been by our side through every step of our journey. Promoters Cuff and Taylor are helping us reach new heights with our music programmes and partners such as Verd de gris and St Augustine’s help make our community programmes really inclusive. Our deep gratitude to everyone who continues to support us.”

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