AS few as three councillors have pledged their support to The Northern Echo’s campaign to save Darlington's central library from imminent closure.

A poll of the town’s 50 borough councillors revealed the majority have yet to declare any interest in supporting the campaign or the petition, which has so far attracted almost 7,000 signatures.

We contacted all 50 of the borough's councillors to ask if they had signed the petition to save Crown Street library - but only 20 replied.

Of those, seven declared their support although just three said they have actually signed the petition - Liberal Democrats Anne-Marie Curry and Fred Lawton and independent Kevin Nicholson.

Cllr Curry, who represents North Road and is leader of the Lib Dem group, said “We have been listening to the people of Darlington and the main message is that they want to keep the library open.

“The Liberal Democrats all support the campaign, but other councillors will be led by their party line.”

Darlington Borough Council is proposing to close both Crown Street and Cockerton libraries and consolidate the service in the Dolphin Centre sports complex, saving £300,000 per year. As well as a number of redundancies, the mobile library would also be taken off the road.

However, last week volunteers from Darlington for Culture submitted fully-costed plans to the council to save the borough's library service without the need for any major cutbacks.

This would involve creating an independent Charitable Organisation to run both buildings in conjunction with the community and, if successful the plans could become a blueprint for other communities fighting to save their library services.

Cllr Lawton said: “I have signed the petition, my wife has signed it, and my granddaughter has.

“The idea of a community owned library is a sound one and I think they will be able to get enough support to keep it open.”

The Northern Echo launched its Save Crown Street Library campaign in a bid to retain library services within the historic building which was donated by the Pease family to the residents of Darlington 131 years ago.

However, no Labour or Conservative party councillors have yet pledged their support for the campaign or signalled their intention to back the petition.

Independent and Eastbourne ward representative, Cllr Nicholson, said: “There is no reason why a community led initiative can’t be a success, it just needs the council’s political approval.

“It would be great if they are given a chance.”

Darlington’s Tory leader, Councillor Heather Scott, said she would not declare her position until more questions had been answered.

“There isn’t sufficient information to comment because we are still considering the plans. There is still the question of cost and maintenance of the building.”

But time is running out for campaigners as today (Tuesday, May 31) marks the final day of public consultation over Darlington Borough Council’s proposed £12.5m cuts package - which also hit social services, health, street cleaning, children's centres, grass cutting, Christmas lights along with funding cuts to a host of non-profit organisations in the town.

All 50 councillors will attend a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday, June 22, to discuss the feedback from the consultation period and a decision will be made on the library’s immediate future.