Library users must wait to have another say on plans

Coun Janet Battye
Coun Janet Battye

THERE is confusion over the council’s latest promise to consult people over plans to build a new library in Halifax.

Council leaders Janet Battye (Lib-Dem) and Tim Swift (Lab) said a second questionnaire would be issued on Wednesday, allowing everyone to indicate whether they want the existing library refurbished, rather than have a new one added to the Piece hall.

But the process appears to have stalled due to Conservative councillors insisting on independent scrutiny of the whole consultation process.

That is what happened in 2009 when 95 per cent of respondents told Calderdale Council they wanted the Central Library to remain at Northgate, rather than be moved to another town centre location.

Conservative group leader Coun Stephen Baines said that because of the shortcomings in the questionnaire issued at Christmas, he wanted to be sure that the views of people responding to the second one were properly recorded and assessed. He has pledged to review any decision regarding the library and ensure that the wishes of the people are adhered to, if the Conservatives take control of the council after the May elections.

Councillor Battye and Coun Swift said in a joint statement this week: “It has always been our intention to have open consultation which allows everyone to have their say about all the issues involved.

“Developing the Northgate site for retail will bring new stores into Halifax, adding life to the town centre and creating new jobs.

“Building the library next to the Piece Hall will help our chances of securing Lottery funding to transform the Piece Hall into a major attraction.”