CAMPAIGNERS have issued a final, impassioned plea to councillors to oppose a decision to close Darlington's 19th century Crown Street Library.

Darlington Borough Council meets this week for what will be the ultimate decision to close down the former Edward Pease Free Library, which was gifted to the town by the Quaker family in 1885, as council cuts continue to bite.

Now those campaigning against the plan to close the building and reopen it in part of the Dolphin Centre have written to every councillor urging them to "listen to us and the people of Darlington" before they vote.

The Friends of Darlington Libraries even mooted proposals in their letter to councillors to open a trampoline park or climbing wall within the Dolphin Centre to bring in "income generation" which could keep the Crown Street Library open.

They said: "People have told us that they visit other towns in the region to go to trampoline parks, fun climbing walls, roller skating rinks, bowling alleys etc."

Campaigners also criticised the council for rejecting a plan to save the library by Darlington for Culture, saying they felt it hadn't been given enough consideration.

The Friends said it was felt that Darlington Council had not examined alternatives to closure enough, including the local studies department being improved to become a starting point for visitors to the town, signposting people to Darlington's railway and Quaker heritage. She

"Future development to expand services at the library could be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund," they said. What could be a more appropriate location for this than a Victorian building, at the heart of the town, gifted to the people by Edward Pease, whose family were present at the birth of the railways?"

The letter goes on to say that campaigners felt the people's wishes had not been listened to.

"Unfortunately the people of Darlington have grown used to being ignored. The results of the Council's own survey have been ignored; the Northern Echo petition has been ignored; speakers at public meetings have been ignored; protestors on the streets of the town have been ignored; scores of letters published in The Northern Echo have been ignored; the views of members have been ignored; perhaps worst of all, drawings and pleas from schoolchildren have been ignored.

"Our appeals have fallen on deaf ears, but we will not give up. We appeal to you again. You are representatives of those who voted you into office. Please listen to us and the people of Darlington, before you vote on this proposal."

A council spokeswoman said: "The relocation of the library to the Dolphin Centre was agreed by Cabinet, following an extensive consultation period, and is on the agenda for Thursday’s Full Council meeting where it will be put before Members for their consideration.”