Darlington for Culture has reacted with dismay to the decision tonight (Wednesday June 29) by Darlington Council to close Crown Street Library despite the submission by DfC on behalf of the community of a plan that proposed a different way forward.
Despite hundreds of people protesting outside the Town Hall, Full Council rejected the community’s proposal for a joint partnership between the council and a new community-led charitable organisation to run Crown Street Library.
Instead, the council says that it will press ahead with the move of Crown Street Library to the Dolphin Centre, a venue which campaigners regard as deeply unsuitable for a library.
DfC submitted the alternative proposal on behalf of the community-led steering group set up to pull together the plan and John Dean, Chair of DfC, said: “Tonight’s council decision represents a missed opportunity for the council to work with the community. As we have always said, the time has come for imaginative thinking and a new way of working and the community’s plans for Crown Street Library offered the chance to put it into practice.
“The huge numbers of people who campaigned to save Crown Street Library have been magnificent and they and the community that uses and loves the library deserve better than tonight’s decision by councillors.”
Darlington Council did agree to give Cockerton Library a stay of execution to allow DfC and the community to pull together a rescue plan and DfC’s committee will meet on July 8 to plan the next step in engaging with the community.
John said: “We welcome the granting of extra time to pull together a rescue plan for Cockerton Library. This represents an opportunity which we must grasp.
“We are also delighted that councilors voted to give the Bridge Centre for Visual Arts time to pull together a rescue plan.”
• Anyone wishing to contact DfC to offer their help on Cockerton Library can do so at darlo4culture@gmail.com