AN arts and culture organisation in Darlington has expressed "outrage" at the £12.5m cuts the Borough council says it will be forced to make because of its dire financial situation.

The "devastating cuts" to the fabric of the town - which could include the closure of library services - has left Darlington for Culture seeking urgent answers.

A meeting held by the voluntary committee prompted fresh calls over the weekend for the council to rethink its current plans to close the Crown Street and Cockerton facilities.

The organisation said it was “alarmed” by the severity of the cuts that would see the predicted £300,000 sale of the Crown Street building reinvested as part of the nearby Civic Theatre’s multi-million pound refurbishment.

The upgrade fund, which includes creating the Hullaballoon children’s theatre next to the Civic, will also be boosted by an extra £140,000 from the sale of the former Arts Centre.

The DfC committee is now urging the Government and council to find a balance to keep both the library facilities and theatre open.

Chairman, John Dean, said: “While we support the restoration of the Civic, we remain concerned that the borough’s much-loved library facilities may be sacrificed to plug an apparent gap about which we certainly had heard nothing.

“In the case of Cockerton Library, Darlington Borough Council has had several opportunities to work with the community over the past three years in order to devise a future for the library and has failed to take advantage of them.

“Darlington for Culture has been one of the organisations ready to help with the right support and has been involved in many of the discussions.

“We urge the council to renew efforts to seek ways of working in partnership with the community to keep the library open because it is an important service for the people of Cockerton and neighbouring areas.”

The Northern Echo’s Save Our Market Town campaign, that was launched in the wake of the council’s announcement last week, has now attracted more than 6,330 signatures from across Great Britain.

The Government will respond to the petition if it reaches 10,000 signatures.

Mr Dean, added: “We are outraged by the Government’s swingeing spending settlement.

“We are throwing our full support behind The Northern Echo’s online petition to call for a Parliamentary debate on the spending targets that necessitated cuts to many crucially important services.

“However, the Darlington for Culture committee does not believe that the council should be completely absolved from blame and deplores the proposed closure of Crown Street and Cockerton libraries and the withdrawal of the mobile library service.

“We remain to be convinced that the proposed replacement library in the Dolphin Centre will be anywhere near an adequate replacement.”

Darlington Council maintains the suggested Dolphin Centre library will still provide a full service to the town.

A Darlington Borough Council spokeswoman said: “Our proposal is to maintain a library service in the town centre along with the housebound library service.”

To support The Northern Echo's petition asking the Government to reconsider its funding formula, visit