What changed your mind, councillors?

Plane Tree Nest Lane

Halifax

On February 14, 2007, the Courier carried the following news:

Calderdale Council’s administrative HQ at Northgate House is to be modernised at a cost believed to be in the region of £12 million. It means 600 staff will continue to work in Halifax town centre from hi-tech offices. “This is by far the best option,” said council leader Ann McAllister. “Replacement offices could cost in excess of 20 million and if we moved out of the town centre, creating another redevelopment site, it could undermine commercial investment in the town, including Broad Street.”

What happened to change the council’s mind? We have to think it was the need to get the Broad Street site developed, for which planning permission was granted shortly afterwards. What better way to encourage a developer than a promise to transfer all the council offices to the site? The transfer of the council offices is now off the agenda until the fate of Northgate House is decided, but no one would be surprised to find it back on again.

The alternative sites suggested for relocating the council offices – the Ridings School site and Holdsworth Mills – would take all those 600 workers out of town, and make public access very difficult.

A full and open discussion of the whole scheme, with the alternatives to demolition detailed, is essential before a decision is taken.

Alan Shaw