Public remain split on new library plans

How the new library will look
How the new library will look

Mixed views were given on the plans for the new Halifax library during public consultation sessions.

Critics cited the change of location and expense for reasons for objection along with criticism of Calderdale Council for wanting to relocate the library and redevelop Northgate.

Others favoured a cultural section in town centred around the Piece Hall and welcomed a new, modern library.

Roy Coble, 84, of Halifax, said he and others with mobility problems wouldn’t be able to access the new library as it was too far from the bus station. And, with the move to online shopping he said retailers might be reluctant to move into town.

“We are quite happy with the library here,” he said.

Jim Ennis, 83, of Boothtown, said if the council had maintained the building it would not need replacing.

“I like to come for the company and I know people who won’t be able to get to the new library - and the people of Halifax voted against a new library,” he said.

Eddie Beaton, 85, of Mount Tabor, said the move was a waste of money and it was more economical to bring the current library up-to-date.

“Only 30 years old and down it comes. The council is determined to do this and not take any notice of us.”

Arshid Zaman, 44, of Halifax, and his family are regular library users and he was in favour of the move which he said would enhance the town’s jewel - the Piece Hall.

He liked the design and said the space would be better utilised than that in the current library.

Elizabeth and Harry Brook, of Southowram, were also among those viewing the designs at the Halifax Central Library.

She said: “It’s a good idea - as long as the retailers come and I’m not against the new location but maybe there needs to be an adaptation of transport.”

Mrs Brook added the design looked fine compared to neighbouring buildings and said it was the red brick industrial museum and Square Chapel which were unusual.

The new library will be located on the Square Church site next to the Piece Hall which will have a new fourth gateway leading to the library.

It should open in autumn 2015 and the current library and council offices at Northgate will be sold off for retail.

The project team is currently working on the detailed design and has circulated questionnaires to gauge opinions on interior design.

The council said the new library and archive will fit well into a new vibrant cultural quarter and will occupy land that had been unused for many years.

Architect Dermot Patterson, of LDN Architects, said people seemed positive about a contemporary building in its historic setting.

He said it fitted in with its surroundings when the town was viewed as a whole - for example from Beacon Hill.