CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Darlington's Arts Centre from closure say they are deeply saddened that the plans look set to go ahead.

Darlington for Culture (DfC) was set up in 2010 to support arts in the town.

The organisation, a Community Benefit Society, is now asking people to contact their local councillor and urge them to vote against the plans when the full council meets to ratify the budget on March 1.

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Nick Brewster, chair of DfC, said last night: ”We urge anyone who has ever laughed or danced or sang or cried or smiled in the Arts Centre to contact their local councillor to ask them whether they will be voting to close or save this extraordinary building.

"It does look like this is the end of the line for the Arts Centre but we feel that with imagination, scaled down activities and a plan for development it really does not need to be.

“DfC reassert, as we have been doing for well over a year, that we are ready, willing and able to work with the Council to find a viable way forward for the Arts Centre. We need one big push to persuade Darlington councillors that this is the right thing to do.”

Mr Brewster said DfC had "left no stone unturned" in its quest to save the centre and had, among other things, spent weeks developing a business plan that showed how the centre could be sustainable and attended council consultation meetings.

"Despite all of this effort by DfC the (council) cabinet has voted to condemn the Arts Centre to closure," he said.