CAMPAIGNERS will take on Darlington’s council when the battle to save a historic library returns to court next week.

On Monday, the Grade II listed Crown Street Library will be at the heart of a two day hearing in Leeds, presided over by a High Court judge.

The case was brought by campaigners who believe the authority has acted improperly in relation to their plans to close the facility.

In 2016, Darlington Borough Council earmarked the library for closure in a £12.5m programme of cuts.

As a result of plans to cut and change library services, the town’s mobile library was axed while Cockerton Library will eventually be handed to volunteers to run.

The authority plans to move the majority of resources from Crown Street to the nearby Dolphin Centre in a bid to save £330,000 a year, a figure protestors have questioned.

The Friends of Darlington Library also take issue with the way the council consulted with the public on the plans, a matter expected to be addressed by the judge on Monday.

During an initial hearing in November, the council’s representative Richard Clayton QC argued that aspects of the campaigners’ case were not strong enough to be pleaded in court.

However, Mr Justice King said there was “just about enough” evidence for him to order further scrutiny of the council’s contentious proposals, though he dismissed allegations that the council had breached the Localism Act in their treatment of a business case put forward by protestors relating to the future running of the library.

His decision to grant permission for a new hearing came after hours of legal arguments that saw Nick Bowen QC accuse the council of having conducted "pre-determined" consultation exercises.

Ahead of the hearing, Paul Howell of the Friends of Darlington Library, said: “We are optimistic and we are going to go in there well prepared and with confidence in our lawyer and barrister.

“If the council do lose, it will be question time again over what they’ll do.

"They have a broad range of options, from deciding to listen to the people and reconsidering their plans to continuing their stubborn approach and restarting the process.”