D-day for Northgate House

Northgate House, Halifax.
Northgate House, Halifax.

A CRUNCH meeting today could decide the fate of Northgate House – and possibly even Halifax Library.

Council leaders will consider the future of its Northgate HQ, Central Library and archives and consider selling the old Heath Grammar School – now a training centre.

The debate about these key properties by Calderdale Council Cabinet will take place at 6pm behind closed doors because of potential legal, financial and staffing implications.

That has prompted speculation that a huge sell-off could be on the cards, which could still controversially include the library.

The option of moving the library to Broad Street has been ruled out by the council’s economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden).

But it could go to a site near the Piece Hall, which would boost attempts to regenerate that attraction which is widely regarded as the “gem” of Calderdale.

Selling Heath Training Centre would help to fund the move.

Councillors are staying tight-lipped over what might be in store and Liberal Democrat leader Janet Battye (Calder) was unavailable for comment.

A developer has offered to build a Primark clothes store at Northgate if the office block and library are bulldozed.

However, with such a massive development, the land would have to be marketed to a wider audience.

Conservative group leader Stephen Baines (Northowram and Shelf) backs the demolition of Northgate House because it will cost up to £15 million to fully restore and changes in working practices mean it might no longer be required.

But he says the library and archives should not be included.

In 2009, 15,000 people signed a petition to preserve the library which is used annually by 384,500 borrowers and people attending meetings.