Hole in the ground in 20 years?

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I was amazed and dismayed to read in last Friday’s Courier that the council leaders have published their decision to go ahead with the demolition of the central library when the results of the Mori survey on which the decision is claimed to be based are in no way conclusive and in fact seem a matter for debate.

The open consultation and the representative survey give conflicting results! Are the council leaders afraid that the public may not agree with their interpretation of the results? Are they hoping that by the time that people have had a chance to examine the results in detail, the meeting on the 28 November will already have rubber stamped their decision? Many people , self included, filled in questionnaires or signed petitions in the past only to have these either binned or ignored and a new study implemented in which the questions were contrived in such a way that the results could be interpreted to suit the council leaders’ agenda. This in itself does not exemplify good democracy. More worrying however, is the alleged suggestion from the deputy leader that the views of elderly, existing users of the library somehow don’t count and can be ignored! Well, if that is how the views of elderly people are valued, then Mrs Battye, presumably you won’t expect any votes from this section of the population at the next election. People would prefer to vote for a party that listens to voters. That is good democracy! There is so much evidence that the future of the town depends not on major retail development but in areas of tourism, heritage, museums, art centres, galleries, leisure, sport etc. Few major retailers are looking to invest in new stores. The continuing insistence by the Council Leaders on providing space for more retail development defies all logic. Are they so arrogant that they ignore all recent evidence as to the decline in retail and reject all expert opinion? Alternatively is there some hidden agenda and have developers already been given the nod? If our council leaders are hoping to go down in posterity as the people who helped shape Halifax through the 21st century then they may get their wish. If we end up with a big hole in the ground for the next 20 years it could be named the Swift- Battye hole! More seriously, if we do end up with a demolished library and a glass box next to the Piece Hall, don’t worry but I for one will not be voting for either of your parties at local level, ever again.

Bob Mantle

Cawcliffe Drive