CAMPAIGNERS battling against the closure of an historic library are refusing to give up their fight.

Darlington Borough Council is planning to close the town’s Crown Street library and move the service to a nearby leisure centre.

Activists took the opportunity to continue their fight when they quizzed members of the council’s cabinet committee, tonight.

Yvonne Richardson challenged the authority to listen the people of the town and involve them in any decision making process.

Addressing the meeting, she said: "There are many counter arguments to all the evidence you have published over the last year but unfortunately we the community do not have the time, skills and resources available to the council to publish them in the detail and format that you have provided to councillors.

"This saddens me as I feel the councillors do not get a full picture. I hope they will receive a great many letters from their constituents making their feelings known, as this seems to be the only resource left to us at this stage."

Cllr Charles Johnson questioned the sense in merging the library services into the Dolphin Centre building.

He said: "There is little evidence to confirm that amalgamation would be beneficial to both (services) or whether it is just expedient for the council."

Christine Fishwick, of the Friends of Crown Street Library, handed over 100 drawings made by children from the town's schools supporting the fight to keep the building open as a library.

She said: "The people of this town won't give up the fight."

Paul Howell, of the Friends of Darlington Library, questioned why the historic building was not going to be used as the cornerstone for the town's ambition to attract more tourists.

In a passionate defence of the council's proposals for the Crown Street Library, Cllr Nick Wallis, the cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said people were failing to separate the issue of the library service from the future of the actual building itself.

He told members that user numbers had dropped by more than 30 per cent in recent years and unless radical action was taken, the numbers would continue to decline.

Addressing concerns about relocating services to the Dolphin Centre, he added: "I don't believe that Dolphin Centre, as a leisure centre, or the library service will be impacted on negatively by the move but there will be a benefit from it being a joint facility."

And Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Heather Scott sympathised with the tough decision faced by the cabinet members over the future of the library.

Speaking on her own behalf and not as group leader, she said: "We should be encouraging more people to use the library service, particularly young people. The service use will decline even more, so we have to look at imaginative ways to get more people to use the library service."

The final decision on the proposals will be made a full council meeting next week.