PLANS to redevelop the heart of Huddersfield have received a mixed reaction.
Shopkeepers, market traders and the public were surprised by the plans - unveiled exclusively in The Examiner.
In a shock announcement yesterday, Kirklees Council unveiled proposals to replace the art deco library and art gallery, The Piazza, Queensgate Market and the adjoining multi-storey car park.
Millions of pounds has to be spent on the library building just to keep it open and council chiefs believe a fresh start could be the best option.
But the scale of the scheme -due to be debated next week by the council Cabinet - would require investment of many millions of pounds.
The council is to consider taking on consultants to conduct a feasibility study.
While some people welcome the ambitious plans, others say some of the buildings should stay - particularly the popular 1930s library and art gallery.
Council chiefs have to find £5m to repair the building.
And if that is to be redeveloped, they want to look at the whole south- eastern part of Huddersfield.
David Wyles, town centre manager and secretary of the Huddersfield Town Centre Association, welcomed the news.
"We are excited by the opportunity of looking into these proposals, which will provide regeneration to complement the benefits that the Kingsgate shopping centre has already brought to that area of the town," he said.
Fred and Una Shaw, of Meltham, want the area to remain as it is.
"We don't want the library to go," said Una, 72.
"There's nothing more lovely than that in town. I'd prefer it to be left."
She also enjoyed sitting in The Piazza on hot, sunny days.
"We come often, watching the people go by."
Huddersfield New College student Hannah Manning, 17, of Dalton, said the library should stay.
"They're talking about knocking down Huddersfield's heritage. And it would take years to rebuild.
"They are trying to build Huddersfield into something it's not going to be."
She said many people enjoyed The Piazza. "It's a good place for the kids to go in the summer. It's lovely on days like today," she added, basking in warm sunshine.
Her mother, Gill Kilcoyne, 44, who owns a sandwich shop, said she would be pleased to see the market hall pulled down.
"I'm not impressed by the market itself. And I can understand why they want to pull the multi-storey down."
Stephen Shaw, 53, of Marsh, had just borrowed books from the library.
"I'd be very sad to see this splendid piece of 30s architecture disappear.
"They haven't learned anything from knocking down the old market hall 30 years ago."
The historic old market hall was pulled down to be replaced by the current building.
"This is short-termism. They plan for 25 to 30 years and then the building has to go," he added.
Ali Hussain, 16, and his brother, Kabir, 17, of Thornton Lodge, are students at Moor End Technical College, Crosland Moor. They use the library for their studies.
"It's quite a nice place, but it's a bit too old," said Ali.
He also said he disliked Queensgate Market.
Kabir said it would be a shame to lose the old library.
"You could build the market again, but you wouldn't exactly be able to build the library again."
June Berry, 62, and her granddaughter, Emily Berry, eight, both of Shelley, were in town.
She said: "We use the multi-storey car park regularly and don't have any problems with it.
"To hear about the plans was a complete shock and my daughter, who works on The Piazza, didn't know about it, either.
"There's nothing wrong with these buildings. I was against them knocking down the old market hall. They've knocked down one good building and it would be a shame to lose the library as well.
"The town hall and library at this end of town are all in keeping."
Steven Lockwood, 38, of Brighouse, was on a regular shopping trip to the town with four-year-old son Kyle.
"We come to Huddersfield every week. This end of town gets very crowded and there's a lot of traffic congestion. Something to improve parking would be a good idea," he said.
Related stories and messageboards