Library fight: we must stay vigilant

Many local residents will be concerned that Calderdale Central Library and Archives have come under the spotlight once again, with the news in the Halifax Courier that Gregory Group (which is developing the Broad Street Plaza in Halifax) has put in a bid to build a Primark and other new stores on the site of Northgate House and the present Library, with an offer to provide a replacement building several hundred yards away.

This follows two major successful campaigns since 2009 under the umbrella of Don’t Bulldoze Our Library (DBOL) to retain the Library facilities in the present building on the existing site.

The original campaign was supported by over 16,000 individuals, 60 local organisations, former senior Librarians, Archivists, Architects and some of the country’s leading academics.

Because of the strength of the campaign, Calderdale Council launched an official public consultation exercise in the summer of 2009 in which 95per cent of respondents voted for retention of the combined Library and Archive and rejected alternative proposals. Consequently, on October 1, 2009, Calderdale Council resolved unanimously to retain the present facilities on the existing site.

Earlier this year, following the revived campaign in response to the opening of a debate on the future of the Northgate site, official assurances were once again given that any new development would have to take account of the need to retain the existing building, and campaigners will hope that councillors remain mindful of these assurances in any future deliberations.

DBOL feels it will be necessary to remain extremely vigilant over the coming weeks, and we strongly urge readers who share our concerns about the future of the Library to go to our website at www.dbol.org.uk, where the situation is being closely monitored and where they will find suggestions regarding useful action that they could take.

Anne Kirker

Oldham Rd, Sowerby Bridge