Have a new library and a busy town

Reading letters on “The Great Library Debate” over the last few weeks I get the feeling that if cryogenics were available today, then some members of our community would like to take it, wake up in 100 years time and find Halifax exactly as it was in 2012.

A couple of years ago, I signed the petition against demolishing the current library – because at the time there was NO alternative. Now there is. A bigger and better one. More energy efficient than the current one, with better disabled access (than the current one) to be built on land that if not used for it will just remain semi derelict forever. The former are just three minor points that to me far outweigh the DBOL /Hx Civic Trust ‘arguments’ - which I feel are 1. The current library is central. 2. It is near the Bus Station. 3. We do not want any change at any cost. I could probably list an awful lot of positive points of view (many mentioned in the Council/Mori survey, which apparently is biased as it raises alternative points of view that DBOL would prefer were not aired) – hundreds of new jobs and opportunities for the inhabitants of Calderdale, a shot in the arm for the local economy, more council revenue (business rates), greater and more varied consumer choice. Lloyds Group (amongst many others) are a major employer and we want to remain in Calderdale – if they need to recruit a new senior executive they will want to sell Halifax and Calderdale as an attractive and vibrant place to relocate as part of the whole package - I think they would struggle at present with our current Town Centre and NO positive plans for the future.
The council (and council tax payer) would not pay to have a large retailer(s) locate bang in the town centre – they would do their own research and arrive at a commercial decision. Dare I mention the ‘P’ word? I think the number of people who would welcome a Primark in Halifax would far outweigh those against – and even then these people would not be forced to shop there. And why should a minority be able to affect the majority?
On the 1st day of trading at Primark’s Oldham store there were a reported 17,000 more people in their Town centre. An initial blip maybe, but any increase in the number of people visiting Halifax town centre can only be a good thing. A point I would think is not lost on the vast majority of other local businesses, both large and small. On ‘Design of the new Library’. Have you ever noticed how many different types of car there are on the road? Even when just 2 people agree that a VW Golf is best – one goes for one in Red, the other in blue. To me it is all about people’s individual opinion – which, within reason, really doesn’t count for a great deal. Personally I think the new library plans look far more pleasing to the eye than the current one – but then again that is just my opinion. I sometimes wonder how many people have ever visited Huddersfield or Leeds, let alone London to see how different styles of architecture can complement each other. I am sure 120-odd years ago when the plans for the Borough Market were drawn up there were people against building on what was then a couple of green fields (DBOGF?) I think everybody would now agree we are glad they did proceed with development. It is called progress. At least when our Councillors finally make the decision that is best for ALL inhabitants of Halifax and Calderdale to relocate the library four minutes walk away from its current location, we will all look back in three years time when we have a great new library AND a busy town centre and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Richard Mallinson