Campaigners’ bid to get Ombudsman on the case

THE Ombudsman could be asked to intervene in the row over controversial plans for building a new library in Halifax.

Campaigners who want the existing library kept believe people are being denied a say.

“We are dismayed that the consultation initiated so far does not permit discussion about the basic question of whether or not Calderdale needs a new library and archive to allow development of the Northgate site,” said Anne Kirker.

She has written to council chief executive Owen Williams and council leaders to make a formal complaint about the way views are being sought.

“We invite you to explain why this basic question has been excluded from the consultation, prior to our referring this matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

They say that unless the “Don’t Bulldoze Our Library” campaign receives a satisfactory explanation by the end of next week, they will be asking Ombudsman Anne Seex for her view on whether this consultation process is acceptable.

Several senior councillors who voted for library consultation on December 7 say they were led to believe the location of the library would be subject to debate.

But the questionnaire published by the council only refers to what the new library might contain.

l The leader of the Independent group, Coun Colin Stout, said he will try to persuade councillors to widen the scope of the consultation process at the next full council meeting.

“I thought it was what we voted for on December 7 but it seems not.

“People must be given a chance to say whether they want a replacement library and where that might be,” he said.