With the plans for the Northgate site scrapped according to the Courier earlier this year (May 3) and with the outpouring of support for Primark, 555 reactions to the post on the Courier’s Facebook page in under 12 hours, 163 comments comprising of at least 81 definite yeses, another 17 comments of support/approval. Why not let Primark have the Central Library?
After all it is a building which the council will shortly have no use for anymore as its replacement upon the site of the former Square Church is almost complete! Otherwise it is likely that it will be left standing, as it appears that the council accidentally forgot to apply for funding to demolish it! As according to the application made to the Leeds City Region, only £1,000,000.00 for the “Demolition and clearance of Northgate House site” was applied for. This is when the estimated cost of demolishing Northgate House and the Central Library that was provided to the authority in June 2013, estimated the demolition cost of both of these buildings to be a grand total of £1,170k: £900k for the demolition of Northgate House and £270k for the demolition of the Central Library, according to a response to a question asked at Cabinet on the April 3 this year.
The remaining £300,000 of the £1.3 million that was received from the Leeds City Region was set aside for consultants’ fees and relocation/removal costs for not only Northgate House and the Central Library (£86,000.00) but also the Bibliographical Services Department, the Reserve Book Stack, the Schools Library Service (£30,000.00) the relocation of IT fibre cable (£50,000.00) and other associated costs. As Captain Alberto Bertorelli from the TV Series ‘Allo Allo’ used to say, “What a mistake-a to make-a!”.
According to page 36 of the ‘Halifax Town Centre Masterplan - Market Assessment and Delivery Report’ that is attached to the ‘Halifax Delivery Plan’ upon the ‘Calderdalenextchapter’ website, Primark have “confirmed that it would need to be an attractive deal.”.
Perhaps the council could lease Primark the existing building for ten or twenty years at a nominal rate? Provided that they refurbish the building themselves. Northgate House could be pulled down and developed with the top half of the existing bus station site that the council wants to bring forward to redevelop.
With its own dedicated loading/unloading bay, spacious floors with central atrium, wide staircase this would make an ideal retail outlet. Should it provide too much accommodation for Primark, the council could perhaps use the basement for their own archive, that has been relocated into private rented accommodation at Spring Wood Business Park at a cost of £27,000 each and every year.