THE Friends of Darlington Libraries have always been clear in our opposition to Darlington Borough Council’s closure of Crown Street Library and the relocation of library services to space within the Dolphin Centre.

However, we decided that as well as looking at plans, artist’s impressions, and the video commissioned by the council, it would useful to ask if we could be shown around the actual area earmarked for the proposed relocation.

Mike Crawshaw, the Council’s Head of Leisure, took two separate groups and explained the plans in situ. He was very informative and answered all our questions and we would like to thank him for this. These are our observations from these visits. The main area of the lending library and the children’s library will have low ceilings and no natural light. If library members wish to access Local Studies, they will have to leave the building and re-enter through a door on Houndgate. The Local Studies area does have small windows, but these are in a wall overhung by part of the rear of the building and the level of natural light is poor.

The space in Bennett House, where the town’s archives would be stored, was not available to be viewed. Should storage space in Bennett House prove to be inadequate, there is the possibility of the overflow being stored in the multi-storey car park.

There will be no provision for an art gallery in the Dolphin Centre. In addition to these concerns there will have to be considerable alterations made to the interior of the Dolphin Centre, which will result in the loss of two squash courts and the complete reconfiguration of the existing popular soft play area. Our research confirms that the majority of Darlington residents support our campaign which continues with the Judicial Review which will take place in Leeds on June 18-19.

Sheila Harris, Friends of Darlington Libraries