Darlington for Culture recently sent a series of questions to Darlington Borough Council in relation to the proposed cuts, as part of our campaign to see greater transparency in the process and to call for more time for Another Way to be considered. These are the questions: the answers are in the word file attached here along with a council document suggesting parts of Crown Street should be protected as a library. Taken together, they strengthen our view that the rush to close is hasty and ill-considered
DBC answers to Library questions
R – Official Copy (Statutory declaration)
1. Has a full options appraisal been carried out to review how the library service could be made sustainable? If not, why not?
2. Has a full options appraisal been carried out to review how the Dolphin Centre could be made sustainable, which includes an option that doesn’t include re-locating the library? If not, why not?
3. What are the estimated relocation and capital costs of putting the library in the Dolphin Centre? How is it proposed this is funded? From receipts of the sale of Cockerton and/or Crown Street or general funds?
4. What are the estimated relocation costs and the annual storage costs for moving both the Borough art collection and the Borough archive? How is it proposed this is funded? From receipts of the sale of Cockerton and/or Crown Street or general funds?
5. What are the estimated relocation and capital costs associated with moving the registrar from the Dolphin Centre to the Town Hall? How is it proposed this is funded? From receipts of the sale of Cockerton and/or Crown Street or general funds?
6. What is the estimated valuation for the sale of Crown Street Library?
7. What is the estimated valuation for the sale of Cockerton Library?
8. When will it be decided if there will be a replacement art gallery?
9. Have you had any more thoughts on the plans for the £50,000 for ‘public sector volunteering’?
10. The Cabinet papers suggest the children’s library will be bigger, is this right? Does this mean that all other parts of the library will be smaller as a result?
11. Will the library have at least the same number of computers that are currently in both Cockerton and Crown Street combined, so people can access these to apply for work and benefits?
12. Have you undertaken an impact assessment of closing the mobile library service on disadvantaged and vulnerable groups? If yes, please can you provide a copy? If not, why not?
13. What is the legal basis for considering that one library constitutes a ‘comprehensive library service’? Has an appraisal been undertaken about whether this would leave you open to legal challenge?
14. We understand from the Land Registry that Darlington Borough Council has lost the covenant placed on Crown Street Library. When was it lost?
15. Do Darlington Borough Council know what the covenant related to Crown Street Library said?
16. Our understanding is that there is a signed affidavit by the then Borough solicitor of Darlington Borough Council that was written at the time the covenant for Crown Street Library was found to be lost and that this affidavit states the covenant existed and what was in it. Is this true? If yes, please can we have a copy?
17. How are discussions going with the Pease family? Have they had chance to see if they have got a copy of the covenant?
18. Are you any further forward in identifying where the borough collection and archives are going to be stored?
19. Would you be willing to consider transferring the Crown Street Library building to a heritage organisation (such as the National Trust or English Heritage) or a community organisation?