So is Northgate attractive?

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With regards to this new library scheme, is there any truth in what we have been told?

We have been led to believe that the site of Northgate House on its own will be unattractive to retailers and developers and that to retain the Central Library will cost around £830,000 to separate it from Northgate House. One of the given key reasons for this is the lack of frontage facing Northgate if the Central Library was retained, so much so that DTZ, Debenham Tie Leung “a global leader in property services” according to their website believe that this will harm pedestrian movement across the Western side of the site. Suggesting that people will avoid walking on Northgate like Northgate House is some kind of disease that must be avoided. If this is indeed the case that the site of Northgate House is unattractive to retailers and developers, then why does Calderdale Council appear to be planning on selling the site of Northgate House separately from that of the Central Library? Not only that, but expecting the site to be sold just less than two years before this new library is expected to be open! Surely this contradicts what we, the people of Calderdale have been led to believe? Spending approximately £830,000 as part of the Halifax Town Centre Office Strategy for the privilege of doing so, in order to provide a new plant room (something which will have to be provided anyway if this new library is built) and a new staircase to replace the one lost when Northgate House is disposed of, for the back office accommodation. I refer to the page titled “Proposed new library and archive, Key messages” which was published on the council’s website on the 16/01/2012 and has since been removed. It stated that “By March 2013 – relocate staff to alternative premises; complete sale of Northgate House and Heath sites” further down the same page it stated “January 2015 - new library opens” a total difference of 22 months. Although we must bear in mind that this could be an honest mistake, it does go on to state that “The Halifax Central Library and Archive will remain open to the public until the new library opens if power to the building can be provided once it has been separated from Northgate House”. So it seems that the site of Northgate House is in fact attractive to retailers and developers after all!

Michael Bradley