Plans for new Central Library approved

The new design of the Halifax Central Library and Archive, viewed from Square Road
The new design of the Halifax Central Library and Archive, viewed from Square Road

Plans for the controversial new library next to the Piece Hall were approved by councillors yesterday.

Councillors made the decision at a meeting of Calderdale Council’s planning committee at Halifax Town Hall.

The vote was a close run thing with four members of the seven-man committee in favour and three against the plans.

Chair Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Mixenden and Illingworth) said: “This will be sited on land that is currently scrub land and is really an embarrassment to our town. It’s a shame that one of the key centres of our town is currently such a mess.

“Our officers have worked hard on this and I think it’s a great project and asset to the town.”

Councillor Martin Peel (Con, Sowerby Bridge) put forward a motion to refuse the plans on the grounds that they would deface the iconic Piece Hall by creating a fourth entrance into the building next to the library.

“In the Piece Hall we have a building of that is a gem of this country,” he said.

“We have in front of us an application to desecrate it by knocking part of its wall down. This library is a slug on a the flower of Calderdale as far as I’m concerned.

“It doesn’t respect or enhance the existing buildings. Just because it’s convenient space doesn’t mean we should accept it. Think of our heritage.”

Councillor Peel’s motion was supported by Coun Chris Pillai (Con, Rastrick) and Coun John Hardy (Con, Skircoat) but they were defeated in the final vote.

The building is expected to be completed in 2016.

Read more in Friday’s Courier and have your say in the comments section below.