New Halifax library still splits opinion

How the new  Halifax Library will look
How the new Halifax Library will look

A campaign group opposed to the impending demolition of the Halifax Central Library conceded its replacement would provide exciting, modern facilities.

The Don’t Bulldoze Our Library Campaign maintained it made more sense to upgrade the existing library - and the majority of voters agreed.

“As for the new proposals, they will, no doubt, offer a bright new library with lots of exciting, modern facilities,” said co-ordinator Anne Kirker.

She claimed the new library will have 30 per cent less floor area and the new archive 40 per cent less.

And, she said no plans for services not accommodated in the building had been proposed.

“After more than three years of campaigning, our success has been mixed,” she said.

“We have clearly had the support of the people of Calderdale, as demonstrated by every means of polling that has been attempted.

“We have not, however, convinced our elected representatives who, once elected, cease to be representative.

“We remain convinced our stance has been correct. It has been backed by the majority of voters.

“It is vindicated by the plans now published.

“We have tried every means at our disposal to persuade Calderdale Council not to do this but there is some unseen, unstoppable imperative driving it that is far more importnat than the views of voters.”

Calderdale Council has promised a new library packed with the latest innovations and it is scheduled to open late 2015.

It said it would house as many books as the current library at Northgate, have the latest technology and room to expand services in future.

Public drop-in sessions will be held to collect feedback and answer questions and planning approval is expected by the end of September.

Once open the old library will be sold for retail redevelopment along with the council offices also at Northgate.

Since details were published in the Courier last week several people have given their views and there has been heavy criticism of the design which was said to fit into its historic setting.

The costings include £90,000 to improve the appearance of the building.

The estimated cost of development is £9,250,000 and some critics fear that will rise and the necessary borrowing will be a burden on future taxpayers for many years into the future.

A selection of Courier comments criticising the design dand its surroundings:

Mike Watters said: “I would rather Halifax were known as a town without a library or an archive, than have this ‘design’ thrust on us.”

Sainsworth said: “Maybe ‘designed to fit into its historic setting’ means ‘it is the same size as the space available’. It’s architecture doesn’t reflect nearby building style - unless it means McDonalds.”

Elliesdad said: “Whatever the right and wrongs of the decision to build a new facility, the actual design is as ‘sympathetic’ as a miner at Thatcher’s funeral.

Ori said: “To fit in, it would need to be part built from red brick, along with grey and brown stone. The whole thing is an exercise in shear blaady mindedness and total deafness to public demand.’’