At least build new library first

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The headline for the front page story in the Courier on November 2, “Town set for major facelift, library to be demolished for a new shopping centre”, stands in contrast to a headline in the business section of The Observer for November 4, “Last survivors left stumbling down the high street after retailing’s day of the dead”.

The Observer story mentions “the collapse of Comet on Friday” (the day your paper was printed), recalls that “it is four years this month since Woolworths collapsed” and states that “Comet’s crash comes at the end of a year that has seen many long-standing high street names fail: JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Millets owner Black Leisure, Game and Peacocks to name but a few. Not all have disappeared entirely, but all have been through the administration wringer – leaving suppliers unpaid, staff out of jobs and a trail of boarded-up shops”. The national story of retailer collapse in The Observer is reflected on the streets of Halifax and other shopping centres within the Borough of Calderdale and stands as a challenge to the local council leaders who are ‘set to go ahead’ with a new shopping centre in the town. Noticeably, both the sub-heading and opening paragraph of the Courier story seem to suggest that the current library will be demolished and a new shopping centre built, before construction commences on a new library. If – and I repeat if – this scheme is ‘to go ahead’ at the very least, a new library will have to be constructed before the existing one is demolished and work on a new shopping centre is commenced. Times a changing for both retail shopping and library usage, Electronic shops and books are introducing new eras for both, but care needs to be taken before increasingly scarce resources are spent on expensive, untested plans.

Richard C Lister

Smith House Lane