Halifax library users have chance to air their concerns

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PEOPLE are being urged to tell councillors what they think about having a new library in Halifax.

Helen Rivron said the community services panel, which she chairs, especially wanted to hear from elderly people and those with walking and other disabilities when it meets on Thursday. The planned replacement for the Central Library at Northgate could go on the bottom side of the Piece Hall, which many people think is a less-convenient location, particularly for shoppers. “There are sound reasons for wanting to build a new library and the designs look great, but we need to know how the change might affect users and that means consulting people,” said Coun Rivron (Lab, Ovenden). The council’s scrutiny panel which meets at 6pm in Halifax Town Hall, is aiming to publish an Equality Impact Assessment prior to the crucial council meeting on December 7, when councillors are due to approve the library plan.

The lack of consultation has attracted criticism and Coun Rivron said she hoped the efforts of the scrutiny panel would go some way towards answering that.

Under the Equality and Diversity Act 2010, the public sector is required to help tackle discrimination and promote equal opportunities with any new developments.

“We must understand the potential effects of building a new library on different people. Accessibility should be a priority.”

Councillor Rivron said moving the library could have a significant impact on people who use the bus station and need simply to return a book. “We must ensure we are not disadvantaging anyone.”

Calderdale Council Cabinet has been accused of rushing the decision on the library by Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan.

She said people had a right to have their say on such an important issue.