Darlington Council to spend £2.9m on library spared from closure

Darlington Council to spend £2.9m on library spared from closure

Darlington Borough Council will pay £2.9m to keep one of its libraries open after abandoning plans to close it.

The Grade II-listed Crown Street Library had been threatened with closure when the local authority announced budget savings of around £12.5m.

Although the council won a 2018 legal battle to close the library, it abandoned the plans shortly afterwards, saying an improved financial position meant it could stay open.

A report to the council’s cabinet this week says £2.9m will now be spent on refurbishment and restoration alongside structural changes including a roof replacement, mechanical and electrical works.

The figure is £900,000 more than estimates made two years ago. An additional £180,000 per year will be spent on restoring the book fund to its previous amount, the report said. There will also be a review of the existing staff structure, council officers warned.

Council leader Councillor Heather Scott told the Northern Echo: "The library was one of the main things people were concerned about in the run up to the council elections last year and this is about delivering on our promises to retain and improve the library."

The Bookseller has contacted Darlington Borough Council for comment.