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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Central Library: plans for new building. Campaigners disheartened that councillors failed to listen to voters.

"We have tried every means at our disposal to persuade Calderdale not to do this but there is some unseen, unstoppable imperative driving it that is far more important than the views of voters."

Over the past few years, the HebWeb has followed the campaigns to stop the demolition of Halifax Central Library, which is used by many people who lives in our area. Last week, Calderdale unveiled its plans. See below

Don't Bulldoze our Library (DBOL), campaigners against the demolition of the existing Central Library have sent the HebWeb the following message.

DBOL Statement on proposals for a new CL&A

As the latest plans for the new Calderdale Central Library and Archive have been published, we have had several approaches from people asking what DBOL’s view is of these developments.

The Don’t Bulldoze OUR Library campaign was set up with the express purpose of convincing the people of Calderdale, and our elected representatives, that it made far more sense to retain, refurbish and upgrade the existing CL&A than to build a new one, on a site which is too small to accommodate all the services of a central library. (The new library will have 30%, and the new archive 40%, less floor area.) As yet no plans have been proposed for how services not accommodated by the new CL&A are to be dispersed across Calderdale.

The new CL&A will cost around £10m on today’s estimates, to be paid for by borrowing, leaving an annual interest charge of around £0.75m for future generations to find.

After more than three years of campaigning, our success has been mixed. We have clearly had the support of the people of Calderdale, as demonstrated by every means of polling that has been attempted. We have not, however, convinced our elected representatives who, once elected, cease to be representative.

We remain convinced that our stance has been correct. It has been backed by the majority of voters. It is vindicated by the plans now published. Calderdale does not need a new, smaller Central Library and Archive. Of course, the area between the Square Spire and the Industrial Museum is badly in need of redevelopment but it is not essential to put a new CL&A there to achieve this.

We have tried every means at our disposal to persuade CMBC not to do this but there is some unseen, unstoppable imperative driving it that is far more important than the views of voters.

As for the new proposals, they will, no doubt, offer a bright new CL&A, with lots of exciting, modern facilities. But our role has been to argue against this happening at all, not to discuss the detail of a plan we oppose.

Anne Kirker

DBOL Coordinator


Save our Services


Calderdale's New Central Library and Archive

Calderdale’s new central library and archive will be an inclusive, fresh, modern community venue that will bring the very best of our local heritage together with the latest innovations. A great place that will be used by our children, our families, our community groups and our businesses for learning, thinking, sharing, working and for leisure.

Ideally located for blending the old with the new, the library will be a contemporary building that will fuse the styles, tones and colours of our historic Piece Hall, Square Chapel and the former Industrial Museum buildings together with a modern, fit for purpose venue. A place that will bring the young and older together and one that will inspire learning and growth through celebrating and appreciating our unique history.

The new building will envelope the Grade II* Listed Square Church Spire and the remaining standing archaeology of Square Church. It will preserve and bring new energy to the derelict site. In addition it will incorporate the remains of the church, such as the rose window, into the design of the building, creating a combination of historic and contemporary architecture.

The building will have four floors. Each level has been carefully planned using people’s feedback, and to accommodate the range of services that will be delivered – from local studies on the lower ground, adjacent to West Yorkshire Archives, through to the ground level with its welcoming reception area and the children’s library. The first floor accommodates adult fiction and an area for 13 to 16 year olds, alongside a digital media area. The second floor carries the adult non-fiction collections and offers opportunity for quiet study and use of IT on an individual or group basis. There will be a small meeting room in the library and more rooms available in the adjacent Piece Hall extension.

The library will be accessed from Square Road or through the Piece Hall via the new fourth gateway (terraced steps and public lift) that will be built as part of the new library development, creating an inspiring, welcoming and accessible cultural venue, open to all. This will also increase pedestrian access from this part of Halifax, creating a convenient route for people using the train station.

A public space will be created between the new central library and archive and the former Industrial Museum. In addition, there is a budget set for external work to the former Industrial Museum, which will improve the facade and stop water ingress to prevent any further deterioration of the premises. There will also be disabled car parking spaces and a layby for use by the Access Bus in front of the building on Square Road.

The Council’s ambition is to create an excellent building which is as environmentally friendly as possible, and reducing construction waste by recycling or reusing materials, minimising carbon dioxide emissions and providing a great environment for the community to use.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, said: “Calderdale’s new central library and archive is part of our exciting vision for a vibrant cultural quarter in Halifax town centre. The development will bring fantastic, state-of-the-art facilities for the community whilst making the most of our wonderful heritage, supporting the Piece Hall transformation and incorporating Square Chapel and Orangebox.”

Public drop-in sessions will be held at the Central Library, Halifax, to give people chance to find out more about the plans, give feedback and ask questions. The dates and times of the sessions will be available on the Council’s website soon.

Proposed Timescale

Start of June 2013: Planning application submitted
End of September 2013: Anticipated planning permission granted
October 2013 to January 2014: Contractor procured
Spring 2014: Development starts on site
Autumn 2015: New central library and archive open

Thanks to Calderdale Council for the above

See also

HebWeb News - Protests continue over Decision to Bulldoze Central Library (6 Feb 2013)

Hebweb Forum - Halifax Central Library (Aug-Nov 2012)

Hebweb Forum - Central Library Consultation Con! (Jan 2012)

Hebweb Forum - Central Library/Northgate House (Nov-Dec 2011)

HebWeb News - Council Releases Information on New Central Library (5 Dec 2011)

Calderdale website: Detailed information on the condition of both Northgate House and the Central Library and Archive buildings can be downloaded

HebWeb News - Central Library threat (22 Nov 2011)

HebWeb News - Don't Bulldoze Central Library Jan 2011

Hebweb Forum - Halifax Town Centre Regeneration (Feb 2011)

John Hargreaves' presentation on behalf of of the Halifax Civic Trust and Halifax Antiquarian Society (Jan 2011)

HebWeb News 2009 - Calderdale Central Library and Archive

Hebweb Forum - Demolition of Central Library and Archives building in Halifax (March-April 2009)

Don't Bulldoze our Library