Plane Tree Nest Lane Halifax
Last year over 16,000 people signed a petition to stop the Central library and Archives building being included in plans for demolition.
Calderdale Council took note of the opposition and agreed to take this building out of the scheme - this was acknowledged in the Masterplan Consultation document last December.
The officers of the Council should have taken note and developed a plan with this in mind.
So why is the question of demolishing the Library being brought up for reconsideration now? Is the tail wagging the dog?
Perhaps the real reason for wanting to demolish Northgate House that it has been allowed to get into a state of disrepair, and it is now said that 15 million would be required to refurbish it to present day standards - a ridiculous estimate which the officers are unwilling or unable to explain. To raise a loan to cover this would be very difficult in the current financial climate, and would look bad on the Council accounts; the officers think it would be far easier to rent new offices elsewhere.
Experience with other schemes have shown that this will look good at first, but the rent will escalate with each review and will eventually cost the Council at least twice the sum of the work if done directly through a loan - and far more than refurbishing the existing building.
The council's officers have made no attempt to incorporate the existing buildings in new retail development, which could be done by using the ground floor for shops, and retaining the offices above.
At the Renaissance Town Team meeting which you reported on 17 January, photographs were shown of developments in Chesterfield which have done just that. Why can't it be done here ?
But none of this justifies the inclusion of the Library in the plans for demolition. Local residents have clearly shown that they want to retain the Library and Archives as they are. The facilities are the best in the county and in the right place for easy public access.
The council should instruct officers to accept this make sure that they do.