THE war of words continues to rage over Huddersfield Public Library.
Labour councillors have revealed that a decision to replace the landmark 1930s building was taken in private.
The decision came at a meeting of Kirklees Council's Liberal Democrat-led Cabinet on Wednesday, August 6.
And Labour says this means that any consultation that takes place will not have real meaning.
The minutes of the Cabinet meeting reveal that the councillors had three options.
Option 1 was to refurbish and extend the library and art gallery and Option 2 was to replace the building.
Option 3 was to replace the library and art gallery as part of a wider regeneration scheme.
The recommendation of the Cabinet meeting was: "It was resolved that the current consultation team be commissioned to build on their existing concept proposals and work with council officers and partner organisations to undertake a feasibility and development study to further refine, appraise and develop Option 3 into a more detailed scheme proposal, with outline designs, general site plans, indicative costings, an assessment of expected commercial viability and proposals for transitional arrangements for Library and Markets Services.
"That officers undertake further consultations with key stakeholders and partners to establish the scope and parameters of the project.
"And that officers report back on progress during early 2004."
Kirklees Labour group leader Clr Mehboob Khan said: "The Liberal Democrat Cabinet decision was taken in private - and it is a shock decision.
"There were three options on the agenda of that meeting. Option 1, to refurbish and extend the Library and Art Gallery, was rejected in favour of Option 3. That is for a replacement building. Officers have been instructed to work up a project to `replace' the library.
"The consultation team has not been told to work with the local people, but just partners and council officers."
Clr Khan added: "I am outraged that even after an enormous public outcry council deputy leader Clr John Smithson is determined to demolish and replace the building.
"Sadly, a decision was been made in August and now wool is being pulled over the eyes of councillors and local people.
"It is likely that these plans will be steamrolled through, but the Labour Group is determined to fight the Philistines who run Kirklees and save our much- loved library," said Clr Khan.
Clr Smithson has insisted that nothing has been decided, other than to commission detailed studies into the state of the library building.
And he said the views of the public would be explored before any decision was taken.
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