“Do we want Halifax town to look like Bradford?” most certainly not.
Councillor Colin Stout’s item was one of the few politicians’ articles I read. It does look as though Bradford may have at least taken some notice of the people there as they have spent valuable resources on the Odeon cinema edifice. Otherwise, Bradford seems to be a place of concrete boxes! However one views Halifax Central Library and Northgate House, as modern buildings, they cannot be viewed as concrete boxes! It has been suggested in “Your Say” that the ground floor of Northgate House could be converted into a Primark or similar and the rest retained as commercial accommodation or offices. The Central Library could be retained on the existing site to the benefit of the people. The artists impression of the proposed new library near the Piece Hall does indeed look like a jumble of concrete boxes which would not enhance this part of Halifax at all. As in so many towns, my own hometown of Kettering was spoilt by the worst sort of civic vandalism when good quality buildings were replaced by characterless concrete boxes and the Council there has been hated ever since. This sort of disaster usually happens when the uncontrolled activities of developers have been allowed by local authorities to despoil towns and cities the length and breadth of Britain. I for one wouldn’t like such a disaster to happen in Halifax and would encourage the bringing into use the upper stories of our quality buildings for housing which would improve the town life and rents would help to maintain those buildings, a process notable by its absence at Northgate House and the Central Library.
I have followed the saga of the Central Library and Archives with a great deal of interest over the past few years but only felt strongly enough to put pen to paper when I saw the results (or Calderdale Council’s interpretation of the results) of the latest consultation. I thought that this (third) consultation was to be an ‘open and fair’ process. These were the words of Calderdale Council but they are now saying that they are only going to listen to the people that they chose at random to receive consultation documents. The 5,000 people chosen at random to be given the consultation document are not a representation of the population of Calderdale. It is only six per cent of the total population. The fact that less than 1,500 of those 5,000 bothered to reply is appalling. This means that Calderdale Council are only listening to less than two per cent of the population. On top of that they are manipulating those results by ‘weighting to correct for the imbalances in responses in terms of age and gender’. This is a prime example of making statistics give the result that they want to hear. An ‘open and fair’ process? I THINK NOT. Calderdale Council state that on the weighted representative consultation 40 per cent want option A (to build a new Library & Archive) and 25 per cent want option B (to retain the Central Library and Archive in its present location). When you look at the Ipsos Mori document on Calderdale’s web site, the FULL consultation shows a very different picture. The total support for Option B (to retain the Central Library and Archive in its present location) is 64 per cent. The total support for Option A ( to build a new Library & Archive) was 14 per cent. (page 14 of the Ipsos Mori Report on Calderdale Council’s website ). Calderdale Council have spent a great deal of OUR money (£58,000) to employ Ipsos Mori to give the consultation authenticity but then to interpret the results as they have and come to these flawed conclusions and ignore the views of ALL the people of Calderdale is a travesty to say the least. I sincerely hope that Councillors will look at these figures and vote according to the wishes of the people of Calderdale at the Council meeting on November 28th.