THE latest legal challenge surrounding Darlington Borough Council’s decision to close Crown Street Library got underway four months ago.

Before that, in September 2016, the threat of a different legal bid led to the setting aside of the original decision to close the building.

Today, we report the council’s statement that from early next year, it will have the find the £33,000 a month of savings it had planned to make by shutting the library elsewhere.

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Cllr Nick Wallis says departments such as Street Scene, which are responsible for maintaining a clean and tidy town, could suffer as a result.

Suggesting the legal challenge – and by definition the Friends of Darlington Libraries group behind it – is to blame for a potential deterioration in the town’s appearance is a low blow.

The group is fighting to maintain a library service at Crown Street and as evidenced by the thousands of users who backed The Northern Echo’s campaign on the same issue, they have a large swathe of support in the town.

Opposition councillors say the authority should have contingency funds built into their budgets so other services are not affected – an entirely reasonable point.

The legal process has to take its course, and much will depend on the outcome, but the fact remains that the council is determined Crown Street has to close to make vital savings, and friends group are convinced a more cost effective, scaled down library service can be kept in the historic building.

Instead of sniping at the campaigners, maybe the council could try getting around a table with them again in an effort to try and break what it claims could be a very costly deadlock.