On a bitingly cold Saturday morning, 1435 people signed our 2 hour petition in support of keeping Calderdale’s Central Library and Archive exactly where they are. That figure is just over 0.7% of the population of Calderdale. If that doesn’t sound very impressive, then consider that, on a national scale, it would represent around 500,000 signatures, in 2 hours. (Nationally, petitions of over 100,000, over several weeks, lead to a debate in Parliament)
Feedback (unscientific) from our “pollsters” may be of interest to readers and to Councillors:
Those signing spanned all ages - from teens to 80s.
A range of ethnic groups was represented.
Although many signers had come to the Library expressly to sign, many more signatures resulted simply from random approaches to passers by.
There was strong support from younger voters, who might be expected to favour Primark et al.
Young parents especially could not envisage trailing down to the Piece Hall with buggies, toddlers and shopping. (It goes without saying that older voters have similar worries.)
Of those approached, perhaps 1 in 10 refused to sign the petition.
Very few were “Don’t knows”.
A significant number approached had not seen the CMBC Consultation Questionnaires, nor knew of the consultation.
If anything, there is more anger and dismay over the current proposals than over the plans of 2009.
The message for CMBC from this should be: Do not underestimate the love that the voters of Calderdale have for our Central Library and Archive – just where they are.
Will this Cabinet listen? Well, with elections due in a few months, maybe they will.
We would like to record our thanks for the overwhelming support given on Saturday, and for the number of volunteers who turned out to help in organising the petition. And thanks are due to Linda Riordan MP for her support on the day, and to the Calderdale Councillors who joined us to sign the petition and show their support.