CONGRATULATIONS to Darlington’s new council leader Stephen Harker and his colleagues for making the brave and courageous decision to retain and refurbish our historic and iconic Crown Street Library (Echo, Sept 4).

This bold move confirms my opinion on his election as leader that Cllr Harker will lead an effective and productive administration, despite the massive cuts imposed by an uncaring Tory government.

Cllr Harker is right to point out that 70 per cent of the council’s expenditure goes on providing support and care for the elderly, disabled and children’s services.

Much of this is required by law, so the cuts have had to fall largely on the 30 per cent spend on all other services put together.

As the Echo Comment observed, the former administration under Bill Dixon must also take credit for making “tough, unpopular decisions due to austerity” to balance the council budget.

Those who were hoping to take political advantage of the previous decision to close Crown Street Library to gain seats in next year’s local elections must be bitterly disappointed. They must now scratch around to find something else.

One thing the opposition has signally failed to do is to come up with is a viable alternative to Labour’s comprehensive set of policies for Darlington’s future prosperity.

Restoring Crown Street Library is just the start.

Chris Foote Wood, Darlington