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Halifax Central Library and Archives 
Opened in 1983
 
This site provides information and links surrounding  the controversy in Calderdale and Halifax, West Yorkshire concerning:
  • the demolition and relocatation of the Central Library and Archives.
  • the construction of a new Central Library and Archives at Square Road adjacent to the Piece Hall. 
  • the demolition of Northgate House, the offices of Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council.
Outline of events from the first proposals in 2008 until the Council decision to relocate the Central Library and Archives in November 2012.
 
The controversy dated from 2008 when Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (CMBC), under a Conservative administration, moved to demolish its public buildings at Northgate and sell the site for commercial redevelopment. All political parties  contend that Northgate House is too expensive to maintain and should be demolished.
 
Following widespread opposition and public consultation the initial proposal to divorce the Archives from the Central Library and relocate the Archives to Bankfield Museum and the Library to Broad Street was voted down in 2009.
 
New proposals to site the Central Library and Archives at Square Road adjacent to the historic Piece Hall were brought forward by the Lib/Lab coalition leadership of CMBC in the autumn of 2011.
 
At a CMBC meeting on 7 Dec 2011 the Council voted to consult the public on the issue. The terms of the consultation were ambiguous and there was, therefore, considerable dispute concerning the scope of the consultation.
 
A consultation exercise began on 20 Dec 2011, but was confined to the services to be delivered at the proposed Central Library and Archives.
 
On 20 Jan 2012, and following persuasion from public, press, opposition and individual Councillors the Cabinet agreed to consult on whether the Central Library and Archives should be retained at Northgate in addition to asking questions about any new Library development.
 
Following criticisms that the consultation process was flawed CMBC Cabinet withdrew the consultation excercise on 16 Feb 2012, but published results from the returns that had been completed, on 12 Mar 2012.
 
A renewed consultation, administered by the social research organisation Ipsos MORI, was initiated in July 2012 and concluded at the end of Sept 2012. A report was published on 5 Nov 2012.
 
On 28 Nov 2012 the Council voted to demolish the Central Library and Archives, at Northgate and build a new Library and Archives at the Piece Hall, with Bibliographic Services, the Schools Service and the Reserve Book Stock to be located at other unspecified rented accommodation or King Cross Branch Library.
 
A formal complaint was made to the Council and following its rejection an appeal was made to the Local Government Ombudsman on 26 October 2012. The LGO ruled that since no injustice had been suffered by an individual, or group of individuals, the law did not provide grounds for the LGO to investigate the complaint further. Following the Council decision of 28 Nov 2012 another formal complaint was made concerning the Cabinet's claim to have a mandate based solely on Strand 2 of the Ipsos MORI consultation and concerning the validity of the financial figures. The complaint was dismissed under the CMBC complaints procedure.
 
 
 
Except the Lord keep the city,
the watchman waketh but in vain.