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Talking Politics: Do we want town to look like Bradford?

Big plans: An artists impression of the new library.

Big plans: An artists impression of the new library.

  • by Colin Stout, Independent councillor, member of Brighouse
 

Now that Calderdale Council has received the results of the Ipos MORI consultation it commissioned earlier this year into moving the Halifax Central Library and archives to the Spire site, it would seem they are now ready to move the scheme forward.

It will be discussed and recommendation moved at the cabinet meeting on the 12th of November. In the report it recommends that the council approve the demolition of the existing library and archive and build a new one at Square Spire.

It would appear that despite several petitions with over 20,000 signatures on that issue, the cabinet has now got the answer it required.

It is basing its recommendation on results from the MORI consultation to which fewer than 2,000 people responded.

Over 5,000 documents were sent to households but less than 1,500 responded.

The documents’ main questions in the consultation were to do with improving footfall in Halifax. Only three questions in the documents related to moving the library.

The cabinet may think they have the answer they want but I am sure that the cabinet meeting on the 12th of November will be an interesting one. If we look at the overall picture you can see that demolishing a perfectly good library that is less than 40 years old and replacing it with retail units that evidence shows nobody wants even retailers.

Major retailers are moving out of town centres and doing more and more business online. We then have retailers like Comet who are going bust, It’s all right to say that a new development may create 230 new jobs but how many jobs will be lost from existing businesses in the town?

Some of them family owned and run, will suffer. How will they compete with companies like BHS, Primark and maybe a bigger Marks & Spencer’s? We have several small retail parks around the town centre. How many businesses of them will close or move to the new development?

The report says it could cost up to £9.258 million to build retail units at Northgate with no guarantee that anyone will want to move in. This money would have to be borrowed. Do we really want to see the centre of Halifax looking like Bradford with a big hole in the centre?

It was interesting to read, the deputy leader of the council Janet Battye say that a group of people mainly OLDER and existing users who were attached to the building.

These older people have shown that over 20,000 other people feel the same way and I am sure that a lot of them are young.

 

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