OPINION is divided about the future of Calderdale’s main library and a major regeneration scheme.
An independent survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI which will help shape Calderdale Council’s Cabinet’s decision on development proposals.
The council wants to relocate out of Northgate House and sell the neighbouring library. It will mean regeneration of the town centre with a new library near the Piece Hall, Halifax.
A representative sample and open survey of residents throughout Calderdale, from Brighouse and Elland to Todmorden, took place with people asked to consider two options:
Option A: Build larger retail units on the Northgate, Halifax, site to attract larger retailers. Build a new central library and archive at Square Spire.
Option B: Undertake basic and essential refurbishment at the existing central library and archive building. Demolish Northgate House and replace with a green space.
Only 60% of responses gave a clear opinion of either Option A or B.
In the representative survey, 583 of those invited to take part (39% of 1,496) backed Option A, while 180 people (21%) backed Option B.
In the open survey of those volunteering their views there were 1,290 responses, but two were a petition and a campaign.
Using a figure of 1,288 – 314 people (21%) backed option A and 656 people (51%) backed option B.
Of the two surveys overall Option A has support of 763 and Option B has the support of 970.
The other 40% were undecided or wanted changes to the two options.
Clr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said: “The proposals will create 230 new jobs and £7.47m for the local economy.
“An improved, revitalised town centre with larger retailers would attract those who currently choose to shop elsewhere and would provide a huge boost to the local economy.”
Tonight Calderdale’s Cabinet will consider a recommendation to Full Council to relocate the Central Library and Archive from Northgate and build a new facility adjacent to the Piece Hall to enable retail development of Northgate.