A PLAN being put together to save a Darlington library from closing down will be determined by the council next month.

A steering group made up of a number of businesses and organisations has been working to put together the scheme which would see Cockerton Library, in Cockerton Village, run by a cooperative-style organisation and turned into a community hub.

A decision on the proposals is due to be made by councillors in January and has been based on discussions with local businesses including John Whitehouse Funeral Directors, Darlington Building Society and Cockerton Post Office.

Organisations including the Cockerton Community and Business Forum, Darlington for Culture and Age UK Darlington have also been involved.

Mr Whitehouse, whose funeral business is in Cockerton, said: “Businesses in Cockerton benefit by having visitors to the library, who then increase footfall.

“It is in everyone’s interests to look to save the library and the council has been very helpful with our plans.

The steering group wants to form a Community Benefit Society, a form of cooperative, to run the library in partnership with Darlington Borough Council.

Plans for the library building include a library, run by a professional librarian, supported by volunteers using the council’s systems and book stock, an IT centre for people to apply for jobs and benefits and improve their digital skills, and space and resources for the local community, in line with local people’s wishes.

Mr Whitehouse added: “The ambition of local people and businesses is for Cockerton Library to thrive, not just survive and the proposal is based on developing the building as a vibrant library and community hub.

“The local community, local business and the local authority would all play their part.

“We have a very credible plan with great partners which we hope the council will accept.”

Councillor Nick Wallis, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, said: “We are pleased that such a bid is being submitted and we hope that the bid is the start of a long and fruitful partnership that will see the Library prosper at Cockerton.”