How the new Halifax Central Library will look

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THE latest drawings of what a new central library and archive might look like will go on display later this week.

A drop-in session will be held at Halifax library on Thursday between 2pm and 7pm.

Visitors will be able to study the plans and drawings and tell Calderdale councillors and officers exactly what they think of them.

The proposal to build a replacement library on the bottom side of the Piece Hall is part of a bigger scheme to revitalise Halifax town centre.

It result in the sale of the whole of the Northgate site, currently occupied by the council offices and the central library and archive.

The site would then be available for a shopping development incorporating big-name retailers, says the council.

But the move faces substantial public opposition from people who say they would prefer to see the existing library restored.

In just two hours on Saturday morning, members of the “Don’t Bulldoze Our Library” campaign collected 1,435 names on a petition.

Coordinator Anne Kirker said: “If that doesn’t sound very impressive, then consider that, on a national scale, it would represent around 500,000 signatures.

“Nationally, petitions of over 100,000, over several weeks, lead to a debate in Parliament.”

She said that if anything, there was more anger and dismay over the current proposals than over the plans to demolish the library in 2009, when 16,000 signatures were gathered over several weeks.

Hundreds of people responded to a council questionnaire at Christmas which asked what a new library should contain.

People are now being asked whether they support the council’s plans for creating a new library and archive.

Calderdale Council’s Lib-Dem leader Janet Battye says the new visuals will give people a much better idea of how the proposed new library and archive would look.

“We have a vision for the future of Halifax which combines new retail, a new library and the transformation of the Piece Hall.

“Before people make up their minds on the proposals, I’d like them to see just what we have got on offer – a fantastic new library, which will be followed by fantastic new shops.”

Deputy leader Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said the proposals were the next step in delivering “Streets Ahead” - the vision set out by Halifax Town Team and adopted by the council for reshaping the town centre over the next 25 years.

“This has already helped drive forward important projects like Somerset House, the Square Chapel Cornerstone proposal and the Broad Street development and it underpins the Piece Hall transformation project.”