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Update: Friday, 2 October 2009

Victory for campaigners

Calderdale Councillors have agreed to keep Halifax Central Library and Archives where they are following a meeting of full Council last night (1 October 2009). Members of the Council’s Cabinet discussed the issue prior to the meeting of full Council and recommended to Council that the facilities remain where they are.

Cabinet Member for Community Services, Councillor Ian Cooper said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Calderdale for taking the time to give us their views. It is clear they feel passionately about the Library and Archive service in Halifax with nearly 95% wishing to keep the facilities where they are.

"The Council have listened to the views of the public and taken the decision to keep the facilities where they are while continuing to develop and improve the facilities on offer.”

See below for how the issue unfolded

Update: Monday, 28 September 2009

Public give overwhelming support to campaign to keep Central Library and Archive where they are. Campaigners to meet at Town Hall for council decision.

The Council's Cabinet will consider a report on the outcome of the consultation on the Central Library/Archives when it meets on Thursday 1 October. The Cabinet will be making a recommendation to full Council, which meets at 6pm on the same day.

The Don't Bulldoze Our Library (DBOL) campaign and its supporters will be meeting from 5.30pm on Thursday 1 October outside the Town Hall to show their support for keeping the Library/Archives where they are.

There should be a limited number of tickets available for the full Council meeting, available from the Town Hall on that evening.

Over 90% of those responding to the council's consultation voted for option 1: to keep the Central library and Archives where they are

If the Council agree to keep the Library & Archives 'As it is, Where it is', it will have been a tremendous achievement, thanks to the thousands of people (17,000!) who have signed the petitions; given active support at meetings and gatherings; taken part in the Council Consultation process; written to their Councillors etc etc, and it would be great to end the Campaign with a bang (hopefully provided by the Samba band again!)

Update: Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Calderdale Council report that over 1300 people have had their say on the future of the Central Library and Archives Service in Halifax.

Calderdale Council sought to gain people’s views in a variety of ways. The consultation began with an open meeting in Halifax on 17 June and closed with a similar event on 24 July. People also gave their views through the Council’s website, by filling in questionnaires in nearly 70 Council offices across Calderdale, or at meetings arranged for community groups and professional bodies.

In addition, the Council received a petition which included over 15,000 signatures opposing any plans for change.

Leader of Calderdale Council, Councillor Stephen Baines says:

“I would like to thank all those individuals and groups who took the time to give us their views. Opinions were strong, and showed how passionately people feel about the library and archive.”

Results from the consultation will be considered by Councillors at the ‘Halifax First Member Delivery Group’ next month. The consultation results, along with detailed technical and financial reports, will then go forward with a recommendation to the Council’s Cabinet later in the year. A final decision on the future of the Central Library and Archives in Halifax will then be taken by Full Council.

Update: Friday, 10 July 2009

Make your views known: vote online now

Calderdale Council have begun a Conultation process on the future of Central Library & Archives, to enable the public to express an opinion on their future (15,000+ signatures aren't enough for them).

People can vote by using the Consultation leaflets, which should be available in Libraries and other Calderdale outlets (although they had run out of these by last week: and are printing more): there is a freepost address. Alternatively, people can vote online: via the Council website.

Obviously, DBOL is encouraging people to vote for option one.

The consultation process closes on July 24th, so the Campaign will soon be over, & we want to end with a bang (and victory, of course!)

Update: Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The next next petitioning and leafleting session will be in Hebden Bridge next Saturday, May 30th, in the Square from around 10.45 to take signatures and answer questions.

DBOL CAMPAIGN UPDATE - Friday, 22 May 2009

Following the Calderdale Council Meeting of 29 April, DBOL has continued the collection of signatures from individuals who ‘oppose any plan to demolish the purpose-built, heavily used and easily accessible Central Library / Archives in Halifax and to relocate the present facilities to another site’. 

Over 2000 signatures were collected over a 10-hour period, bringing the total to date to over 13000.  Signatories were made aware of Calderdale Council’s 3 options before signing the form and realised that signing the petition represented an endorsement of the retention of the existing Central Library and Archives building on the Northgate site. 

In addition to significant support from individuals, the campaign has also attracted support from a number of organisations, including the

  • Halifax Antiquarian Society
  • Halifax Civic Trust,
  • (National) Federation of Family History Societies,
  • Unison (Calderdale Branch),
  • Workers’ Educational Association (Halifax and Calder Valley Branches),
  • Calderdale Heritage Walks,
  • Halifax Borough Market Tenants’ Association,
  • Soroptimist International of Halifax,
  • Halifax Third Age,
  • Calderdale Pensioners’ Association,
  • Calderdale Family History Society,
  • Halifax Probus Club,
  • Mount Tabor and Wainstalls Local History Group,
  • Design and Display Ltd, Elland,
  • Fred Wade Ltd,
  • Booksellers and Stationers, Halifax,
  • Ginger Vegetarian Café, Northgate,
  • Halifax Quaker Meeting,
  • Halifax Scientific Society,
  • Sowerby Bridge Civic Society,
  • Lightcliffe and District Local History Society. 

Further ‘institutional’ support is anticipated.

There is clear evidence that many Library and Archive users are still unaware that the Library may be demolished.  Many are shocked and express deep concern and even disbelief regarding the possible loss of the Library. 

An informal survey of signatories indicates that the Library in its present form on its present site is extremely popular, is used by a wide cross-section of society of all ages, is visited by many people from other districts of West Yorkshire, from other parts of the country and from other parts of the world. 

It has been described by several signatories as one of the best Libraries they have used.  The vast majority of individuals approached were happy to sign or had already signed.  Several signatories suggest that the Library attracts visitors to the Halifax Town Centre and enhances retail activity in the town.  DBOL intends to continue this public consultation process across Calderdale over the coming weeks.  Its findings will be passed to Calderdale Council at the appropriate time.

DBOL warmly welcomes Calderdale Council’s recent acknowledgement that the impact of the relocation of the Library/Archives was not sufficiently considered, that its archive facilities are of national importance and meet challenging National Archives standards, that petitions (totalling to date in excess of 13000 signatures) unambiguously opposing the demolition of the Library will be taken into account and that the present Library/Archives building will be retained on its current site unless there are alternative financially viable proposals produced that have broad public support and would improve present provision. 

DBOL believes that the considerable debate around this issue to date has increasingly brought to light the significant social, cultural and economic advantages of retaining the present Library/Archives building.  It has also progressively identified the costly and complex logistics of alternative proposals.  We are firmly of the opinion that further investigation of this issue will serve to reinforce the case for retention.  It remains our belief that the most effective way of ensuring the continuation of the current level of service provision and of extending such provision is by retaining the present building on the present site.

May 2009


Update - Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Calderdale Council have today announced that library users are to get the chance to say where they would like to see the site of the proposed new Halifax Central Library.

Members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet have agreed to consult with users on three proposed options for the Central Library and Archive:

  • Option 1 – That the Library and Archive remain where they are now
  • Option 2 – Library and Archive to move to new facilities at another Halifax Town Centre location
  • Option 3 – Library and Archive to become a part of any new development on the current Northgate House/Central Library site.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr. Stephen Baines, says the existing library was built 25 years ago and is in need of modernisation.

“The council committed to a new, purpose-built library in Halifax last year and we want to provide a modern library which will serve the needs of the whole community.

“We will ensure that the location of the library and archive will be at a convenient location in Halifax Town Centre.

“We will also bear in mind the distinct advantages of having the museums store and the archive together. But what we really need to know at this stage is where people would like to see the new library and archive located.

“Residents now have a great chance to let us know what they think and to help shape the new service.”

Councillor Baines said that while Cabinet had agreed to an accelerated procedure for selection of developers for Halifax’s proposed new Customer First facility, it did not mean that any decision had been made on the future location of the Central Library.

“We want to ensure that the people who use the library and will be using it in the future will have a say in where it is located.”

He said a report on the outcome of the consultation would be prepared for consideration by Cabinet in July.

Update - Monday, 20 April 2009

A petition containing some 10,000 signatures opposing any plan to demolish the purpose built, heavily used and easily accessible Central Library and Archives in Halifax and to relocate the present facilities another site’ will be presented to a meeting of Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council Regeneration and Redevelopment Scrutiny Panel at Halifax Town Hall at 6pm on Wednesday April 22nd. Campaigners will gather outside the Town Hall from 5.30 pm and supporters of the DBOL campaign are encouraged to attend the meeting.

The Don’t Bulldoze Our Library Campaign was launched early last month to save Calderdale Central Library from demolition. It is a non party political campaign supported by a broad cross section of the community including thousands of local residents, library and archive users. Members of all main political parties, local voluntary associations such as the Halifax Antiquarian Society, The Halifax Civic Trust, The Halifax Scientific Society, the Workers Educational Association and the Calderdale pensioners Association, former Calderdale MBC senior officers and the MP for Halifax, Linda Riorden. Distinguished academics and eminent figures from the world of culture and the Arts have also added their support to prevent the loss of this well-used and highly valued cultural amenity.

DBOL have prepared a multifaceted statement which argues the case for the retention of the present library and archives in Northgate. It draws on a wide range of administrative, professional, technical and academic expertise challenging the current Calderdale MBC proposal to demolish the building and relocate facilities to one or more sites. The document has been circulated in advance to Calderdale Councillors and the DBOL campaign hopes that Calderdale Council will be persuaded to reconsider its plans in order to ensure the continued existence of the linked archive, library and public meeting room facilities currently housed in Calderdale Central Library on the existing Northgate site.

Update - Friday, 17 April 2009

Saturday 18 April at Calderdale Central Library
As well as a morning session of handing out of information and collection of signatures from 10.45am, there will also be an afternoon session from 1.30pm. All help will be appreciated.

Wednesday 22 April outside Halifax Town Hall

The Regeneration & Development Scutiny Panel meeting (at which the Panel will be reviewing the plans) is a public meeting, so anyone who wants to can attend. It will take place at 6pm at Halifax Town Hall. Campaigners will be meeting outside the Town Hall at 5.30pm to demonstrate the strength of local feeling against the plans. You are most welcome to join us for the gathering, the meeting or both.

Downing Street petition

Update - Friday, 3 April 2009


The campaign to save Calderdale Central Library from demolition enters a new phase on Saturday 4 April when the MP for Halifax Linda Riordan will join campaigners outside the Calderdale Central Library in Northgate at 11.00 a.m. to distribute flyers and collect signatures for a petition opposing any plan to demolish the purpose-built, heavily used and easily accessible central library/archives in halifax and to relocate the present facilities to another site.

The campaigners include local residents and library users, members of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, members of the Halifax Civic Trust, Workers Educational Association students and tutors. The campaign is non-party political and has been encouraged by the support of individual councillors from all the main political parties, of candidates in the forthcoming Skircoat ward by-election and of Halifax’s MP.

Already nearly two thousand signatures have been collected from the public who have demonstrated that they value retention of the linked facilities of library, archives and meeting rooms on the existing site. campaigners welcome the decision of Calderdale Council’s regeneration panel to insist on a public review and reject the most recent proposal to divorce the archives facility from the local studies, related reference, special collections and centrally located meeting rooms on the Northgate site.

The proposed demolition of the acclaimed, well-used, highly valued purpose-built facilities is regarded as an act of cultural vandalism which will deprive the people of Calderdale of a vital community resource used by young and old. the dbol campaigners therefore invite all those who are willing to support our growing public campaign to download copies of our petition from the DBOL website or join us in northgate on saturday morning to help distribute flyers and collect signatures for our campaign.

Update - Thursday, 19 March 2009

Labour Group on Calderdale Council call for
review of decision to move Library and Archive

Cllr Barry Collins, on behalf of the Labour Group on Calderdale Council is calling for a major review of decision to move the Halifax Central Library to the new Broad Street Development.

Cllr Collins said – “The Labour Group is really concerned about this proposal - and with good reason:  The new library appears to be much smaller and it would boot out the archives from the centre of Halifax.   As the excellent letter from Professor Hudson stated (see Hebweb Forum), this would be a disaster. Describing our existing archive he said: ‘”very few towns and cities in Britain can boast such a state-of-the-art facility, easily reachable by public transport”.   

"We have also listened to the Calderdale Pensioners Association whose petition to keep the Library at Northgate attracted over 500 signatures.  A new library should be better than the one it replaces – does anyone really believe that to be true?   

Labour group leader Cllr Tim Swift added, "When the decision was taken to vacate Northgate House, all the main groups accepted that it made sense to try to release the whole site for redevelopment. But it's becoming clear that we should have given more thought to the future of the library.

"Before the Council is finally committed to demolishing the existing library, we need to look again.

"The Library is one of the best mainly free services that the Council provides for local people. If we are to make changes, they must be changes for the better. That's why the Labour group is now saying that before a final decision is made, we must look again at all the options, including a complete redesign of the new Library so that it will be big enough to provide a top class service and keep the Archives here in the centre of Halifax.

"We should also look again at the case for keeping the existing Library and Archives open at Northgate.

"The Broad Street development is vital for the future of the town. But we must not let the need to drive on with that scheme blind us to the risks of damaging valued and important local services. There are other possible uses for the space at Broad Street which could be explored – The Labour Group believes that unless huge changes are made to current plans, the Library and the Archives must stay put! "


Wednesday, 4 March 2009, updated Monday, 9 March 2009

Calderdale Council are proposing a new development in Broad Street that will in all probability result in the demolition of the Central Library in Northgate so that the site can be redeveloped as a retail outlet. The archive is a Calderdale one not just a Halifax one and holds many records from the Upper Calder Valley, eg those of the old Hebden Royd Council.

It would appear that some of the present Central Library facilities will be transferred to a smaller one-stop-shop site within the new development. The new site will have insufficient space for the archive service and (possibly) other library facilities.

There are many reasons why people in Hebden Bridge may be opposed to this development:

  • Central Library is relatively modem, opened in 1983
  • It was purpose-built
  • It's centre location near the bus station close to other amenities makes it the best place for users from Hebden Bridge.
  • It is popular and heavily used
  • The library offers diverse range of services under one roof
  • It houses valuable meeting rooms used by many local organisations
  • The library incorporates large National Archives appointed archive repository
    holding millions of documents with significant reserve capacity for future growth which, when opened, was widely regarded as model for libraries planning integrated archive facility
  • archive service needs to retain close contact with linked library
    services (reference and local studies)
  • archive service benefits also from town centre site and would suffer
    from any transfer away from present location
  • no reason why Broad Street Development should necessitate the
    destruction of a vital social and cultural amenity

Anyone with concerns should write to

Owen Williams
Chief Executive
Calderdale MBC
Town Hail
Crossley Street

and send copies to

Kersten England
Community Services
Calderdale MBC
Westgate House
HX1 1 PS

Gary Borrows
Head of Service
Libraries, Museums and Arts
Caiderdale MBC
Central Library

Linda Riordan MP
2-4 Shaw Lodge House

Katy Goodrum
Head of Archives
West Yorkshire Archive Service
PO Box 5
Nepshaw Lane South

Ms Natalie Ceeney,
Keeper of Public Records and CEO of The National Archives,
The National Archives,
Kew, Richmond,
Surrey, TW9 4DU

nb: The crucial thing is because of certain classes of records the archives holds – including those of the council itself and its predecessor authorities Calderdale archives is legally subject to the regulatory authority of the National Archives

3 Calderdale councillors for Hebden Bridge and our Calder Valley MP

Janet Battye
Lower Longfield Cottage
Long Hey Lane

Nader Fekri
7 Hope Street
Hebden Bridge

David O'Neill
Stones Road
OL14 7JP

Chris McCafferty MP

See also

Hebweb Forum

Don't Bulldoze our Library


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