A SURVEY to gather views on the future shape of Darlington Library is set to conclude, with many residents saying they do not want radical changes.

Darlington Borough Council officers told a meeting of the authority’s place scrutiny committee that discussion events and responses submitted online had generated views that the Crown Street library should host numerous events.

Councillors were told residents had called for a sympathetic refurbishment of the grade II listed building following the authority reversing its decision last year to relocate the library to the Dolphin Centre and invest £2m on the Crown Street site.

The meeting heard plans for the new-look Crown Street library would be considered by councillors in the summer and the revamped facility was likely to open 18 months after that.

The committee was told many respondents call for the library to be used as a venue for a wide variety of events, both for adults and children.

With a week until the survey closes, only five people so far had called for part of the library to be used to celebrate the town’s rail heritage, but about ten times the number suggested a cafe should be opened in the building.

Officers said creating proposals for the library’s future would be “a balancing act” as some of the views that had been expressed were in direct conflict with each other.

Councillor Gerald Lee said he had understood why the council had axed the mobile library service as part of a £12.5m budget cuts plan, but now the authority was hoping to offer an improved library service consideration should be given to reinstating mobile libraries.

He said: “There’s been no consultation whatsoever for the poor devils who live in the rural areas. You have got elderly people who can’t get into Darlington for mobility reasons and are being totally ignored. If you are providing a library service for people in Darlington it is only right that the people in rural areas should have access to a library.”

The committee’s chairman, Councillor Bob Carson responded that a declining number of people had been using mobile libraries before the service was scrapped. He said: “I’m not saying the mobile library wasn’t a good service. We all deeply regretted it closing, but there were issues about numbers.”