regarding the proposed new library and council offices, whilst not necessarily opposed to the proposed plan, no final decision should be made by the Council until the following actions have taken place and been concluded :-
- Full Cost-Benefit analysis conducted & made available to the public (Rate Payers of Calderdale). Whilst appreciating that this will take time & money, no self-respecting business would contemplate such a project without a full business plan.
Indeed, they would not get permission from their financial backers (usually the banks) without one. In this case, the rate payers are the banks !
- Given the fact that the existing buildings are less than 30 years old, consideration (& a cost/benefit analysis) should be given to alternative (partial) schemes - eg using the space by Square Chapel to house the overspill of Council workers (if this is needed - isn’t this one of the drivers behind the existing proposal ?) & also to house the non-food retail shops. Very good access from both station & bus station.
- It is essential that on-going, continuous, maintenance costs for any building are built into the Cost/Benefit analysis. I suspect that the reason that the figure of £21m in total is needed to refurbish both the Library & Council offices, requiring them to be “closed for months” is because inadequate maintenance has been done over the years. How many houses need 30-50% of their total cost spending on refurbishment after less than 30 years use ?
- We must ensure that any new building work is NOT financed by the PFI method. To do so would put Calderdale “in hoc” for generations, allowing outgoings beyond their control. There are many horrific stories about spin-offs in PFI-financed buildings, right down to workers being unable to provide their own catering (coffee/sandwiches etc.) due to the PFI financiers having an exclusive contract for catering, for which they can charge the tenants (Calderdale Council in this case) unrealistically high prices.
- Public consultation should take place, once fully detailed plans are available and before a final decision is made.. The public cannot put forward a reasonable view without the facts - equally the councillors can’t (or shouldn’t) take any decision without the same information.
- Given the direct effect that any decision will have on members of the public, all formal meetings on the matter should be open to the public, or at least representatives of the public (as well as the elected councillors). Peter Lord
Halifax Road, Hove Edge