Union slams council plan to move library

THE council’s biggest trades union says it is opposed to plans to relocate Halifax Central Library to the Piece Hall.

“The new library appears to be inadequate, far less accessible, smaller and there are no clear plans for meeting rooms or archives,” according to Unison.

Members go on to say that relocating it could be more expensive than renovating the existing building and there is insufficient information regarding the costs involved.

Calderdale Council has begun a public survey on what the new library might contain and how it might be used. But there has been criticism because people are not being asked specifically about whether they think the planned site at the bottom side of the Piece Hall is acceptable.

Calderdale branch secretary Gary Firth said the Unison committee was committed to working with the council to provide high class public services.

“At this time we don’t believe the demolition of Northgate House and the library with the subsequent move is in the public interest.

“At times of financial uncertainty, austerity and spending cuts we believe the council should not embark on ambitious spending plans entailing long term financial commitments without tangible public gain.

“The proposals assume that land would be sold to a developer to create a further shopping complex and we do not believe that enough work has been done on the sustainability of such a development.”

Mr Firth said there needed to be public support before any plans to proceed.

The council’s economy and environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins said there would be meeting rooms in the new library and a new archive.

The council is committed to providing a new building which is at least as good as the existing building.

People have until March 12 to complete the council’s questionnaire or send in written comments.