Cockerton Library campaigners issue statement about legal concerns

Campaigners seeking to save Cockerton Library from closure have said that they are unwilling to press ahead with the plan until the legal situation surrounding the future of the town’s library service is resolved.
A steering group including a number of community businesses and organisations has been working over recent months to put together a plan which would see the building remain open as a library/community hub, in partnership with Darlington Council.
On Thursday March 23, councillors agreed to support the move as part of a council plan that would also see Crown Street Library close and move to the Dolphin Centre and the mobile library close.
However, it was said several times during the meeting that campaigners against the Crown Street proposal expect some form of legal action to be taken to challenge the decision, possibly a call for a judicial review, based on concerns about the legality of the decision taken by councillors relating specifically to Crown Street.
The Cockerton Steering Group has now decided to delay their plans until the issue is resolved.
Chair John Whitehouse said: “We do not want to press ahead with our plan until we know what is happening and that means waiting to see if legal action is forthcoming and what the outcome of that action might be.
“Although Cockerton Library negotiations have taken place separately from talks on Crown Street, clearly, any decision on Crown Street impacts on the future of the library service as a whole and we feel it would be unwise to proceed any further until the situation is resolved.”
The Cockerton plan envisages the formation of a Community Benefit Society, a form of Co-operative, to run the library in partnership with the council.
The proposals include:
A library – with professional library staff support, supported by volunteers and the local authority’s systems and book stocking .
An IT centre – for people to access information online, apply for jobs and benefits and improve their digital skills.
Space and resources for the local community – to be developed in line with the wishes of local people and businesses.

You can find out more about the plan at
http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/proposal-for-the-future-of-cockerton-library-is-unveiled/