Council must give clear reasons for demolition

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The Council has at last agreed to public consultation before taking a decision on demolishing the central library.

What is needed before discussion is truth and transparency from the council and its officers, which has been sadly lacking over the last year or two.

On October 1st, 2009 the council resolved that the Central Library and Archive Service remain on the current site at Northgate, Halifax and on April 5th 2011, Calderdale Council’s economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins told the cabinet that its demolition was not on anyone’s agenda. Why did our Chief Executive allow the officers to continue with their plans for demolition? Did the council (or cabinet) know this was going on? Are the officers completely out of control of the council?

Gregory Developments should have been told of the council’s decision when they came forward with plans to redevelop the whole site.

They are not concerned with social needs, civic pride, or the public’s views - they just want the biggest possible site to build on to maximise their profits. They should be satisfied with the 75% of the site which is represented by Northgate House, or explain why.

The present library is state-of-the art as far as the archives are concerned, it fulfils the public need for meeting rooms and library facilities, and it is located where the public want it to be.

What more could be asked than it be retained as it is – the cheapest option too. Relocation to the Square Road site would be much more expensive, inconveniently located, and result in a library only half the size of the present building. What would be left out?

The officials would not tell me under the Freedom of Information Act – they would only say that these details were still to be worked out. How can a meaningful discussion take place when no-one knows what the details are?

How can the council cabinet recommend demolition of the library with no idea of what will replace it? Previous reports from officials to the Regeneration and Development Scrutiny Panel have said that a replacement for the central library would not contain meeting rooms, book store or administrative staff – in fact the replacement would be no more than a Branch Library. This is not a bold new vision or a state-of the art replacement, as some councillors would have us believe.

Now is the time for the council to show clearly what is their reason for demolishing the present excellent facilities in order to replace them with a smaller, inferior and much more expensive building, and allow full public discussion of the issues.

Alan Shaw

Plane tree Nest Lane

Halifax

I totally disapprove of the proposed ‘Grand Plan’, as do the majority of people in Halifax.

Central Library should be left as it is! I should like to know in detail what alterations the council intend to make to the 28 year old building besides cosmetic ones.

I cannot understand why the Courier, our local paper, is not more supportive of the very large group of ‘objectors’, but seems to favour the council’s opinions.

Hannah Palfreeman