I too was at the open meeting of the Halifax Renaissance Team at the Shay the other week and I am as concerned as anyone to ensure a vibrant town centre in Halifax for the future. I would like to take up your request to hear other readers’ views, following Tim Kirker’s letter (“Chain stores are not the answer”, Courier, 20 January).
In simple terms, I don’t think the debate should be seen as favouring retail development or retention of the Library and Archives - Halifax needs both!
If we don’t see some substantial investment on the retail side, then the town will continue to lose out to Leeds and the White Rose Centre (and even Huddersfield!) and the economic loss will continue to be severe.
While Halifax is not a city, opportunities should be taken to encourage more major stores here, as they appear to be queuing up, and to provide them with the right sort of modern space. The premise that the majority of people come into town to shop is surely not an unreasonable one.
What is also required is encouragement of the smaller shops in our historic buildings, as they are more suited to the available accommodation and would certainly help attract visitors from elsewhere.
If the current external bid for funding the Piece Hall fails, then the Council must take it on themselves to make more of what is a unique asset to the town and seriously develop it with incentives for smaller, specialist shops.
As far as the Library is concerned, what is the problem with developing around it?
If Northgate House - and the Bus Station and Post Office buildings on Gaol Lane - need to be demolished, so be it. Nobody would shed a tear, but the facilities at the Library are certainly worth preserving, as the strength of public feeling in 2009 showed.
So, I must be missing something, but as I see it, we need to ensure investment in the town centre for everyone’s enjoyment, we have a fantastic resource in the Library that needs to be retained, it is too expensive to relocate and we therefore need to develop the adjoining site - surely not beyond the wit of the Council and a sympathetic developer?