Boothtown Road Halifax
I was at the Town Team meeting referred to in Brian Coates' report of 17 January, and I fully support the views expressed by Tim Kirker in his letter of the 20 January.
This proposed redevelopment seems to me to be a knee-jerk reaction to the present retail climate, and the council are apparently prepared to tear apart a large section of the town centre mainly to accommodate one single retailer.
Do we have any written assurance that this retailer will come to Halifax, given the carte blanche they seem to demand? Is there, or will there be, a contract; some kind of insurance should they change their minds? I was told, by one of the Council officials at the meeting, that this development – should it go ahead – would take a minimum of six, nearer ten, years to complete. What if this specific retailer is no longer flavour of the month in 2021? It's more than likely it will have been usurped by some new fashion trend who by then will have a presence in Leeds or the White Rose centre or wherever. Will we tear down another chunk of Halifax to accommodate them too?
And I question some of the 'facts' used in support of the proposed demolition; that Halifax has a higher than average proportion of young people – well, I spend a fair bit of time in and around the town centre and, frankly, I don't accept that. Also, Jason Gregg stated that, on some retail statistic, Halifax ranks 204th. Out of what? Without telling us how many are on that scale, the fact is meaningless.
I would have asked him to expand but, unbelievably, we were not given the opportunity to ask any questions. After attempts from the floor to raise questions, John Kenealy explained that time had not been allocated for questions, and he refused to allow any more. No one can be so nave as to think none of the 100 or so who attended the meeting would want to ask questions, so their motives for this concern me deeply.
As for the library, the same councillor who told me it was not part of the plan, told other people that nothing was ruled out. And does the council have the memory of a fruit fly? It was only in October/November 2009 that they assured the residents of Halifax that the library would be retained on its present site.
Have they forgotten DBOL and the 16,000+ signatures that were handed in at Downing Street. Do they think we have changed our minds? Of course they don't; they have decided to pay lip service to public consultation and then, as they have so often done in the past, ignore whatever runs counter to their own plans.