Library consultation key to redevelopment

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COUNCIL leaders have been told to begin a charm offensive if they want to rescue their grand plan for Halifax town centre.

They have been told they need to persuade library users to back a new library near the Piece Hall – a move key to securing retail development at Northgate.

But according to independent councillor Colin Raistrick, it will be an up-hill struggle.

He said: “I have spoken to hundreds of people and only one said they were in favour of moving Central Library.

“They have turned down the chance of new facilities because of the council’s failure to win hearts and minds.

“The council is perceived to be taking decisions behind closed doors,” said Coun Raistrick (Hipperholme and Lightcliffe).

Another independent, Tom Bates (Illingworth and Mixenden) said the cabinet’s initial intention to sanction the scheme without consultation was completely wrong.

“We have consulted on the budget, the Piece Hall, dogs and playgrounds, but when it comes to something that will change the landscape of Halifax forever there was the threat of no consultation.”

Calderdale Council’s cabinet had wanted the old library site and nearby Northgate House to make way for a store, possibly Primark.

But a last-minute amendment by deputy council leader Tim Swift was approved, meaning redevelopment can only go ahead “subject to detailed consultation” on the new library.

Exactly what form consultation will take has still to be confirmed.

Economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said the situation regarding the library had changed radically since 2009 when 16,000 people objected to the building being demolished.