The row over where library should be sited rumbles on

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THE continuing row over plans by Calderdale Council as to whether Halifax Central Library should be moved shows no sign of abating.

Coun Stephen Baines, Conservative group leader, says he has been inundated with people who are concerned at the lack of an open and transparent consultation regarding the Central Library.

The Conservative councillors are, therefore, under council rules, sending a letter to the Mayor requesting that he call an Extraordinary Council meeting to consider the matter.

He said the letter will request: “That the council commences a full consultation on whether the Halifax Central Library should remain in its present position or be moved.”

The Mayor has to call a meeting within seven days of receiving the letter unless the matter is resolved before that time.

Council chiefs confirmed earlier this month that they plan to sell the Northgate House site, including the Central Library and archive, despite concerns over a lack of public consultation on its location.

Economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said that keeping the existing library and archive could scare off potential retail developers.

At the time he said: “We are committed to moving out of Northgate House because it would be hugely expensive to refurbish and we no longer need office accommodation of that size.

“The whole of the Northgate site is a key attraction for town-centre shopping and we know that a number of developers are interested.

“Keeping the library could delay any new development. At worst, we could be left with an empty and boarded-up Northgate House.”

The council consultation about what the new library will contain runs until March 12.

Coun Ian Cooper (Con, Todmorden) who was heavily involved in the saga when the Conservatives were in power, said: “I think it should stay where it is.

“There was a time when I did think it would be advantagous to move it but having heard all the arguments I was swayed by the weight of opinion.

“I don’t think there’s any argument whatsoever - I think there should be a full and robust consultation.”