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Cockerton Library (W05)

Cuts

Portfolio: Leisure and Local Environment Portfolio

Description

Cockerton Library is the only branch library within Darlington and in recent years has had a reduction in opening hours and during 2014/15 into 2015/16 discussions have been carried out with the voluntary sector to try to develop a volunteer-led library within Cockerton.  To date this has not proved successful and the Council continues to manage the library.  There were approximately 86,888 books loaned from Cockerton during 2014/15 and alongside book lending there are 10 computer terminals for use by library members providing 280 hours of access per week.  The total number of visits to Cockerton Library in 2014 was 42,050.  

Proposal

Cockerton Library would be closed. 

Impact

The closure of the library would impact significantly on residents who regularly use the service.  A full needs assessment would need to be carried out prior to any final decision being made. There will be a requirement to complete a Library Needs Assessment  and full Equalities Impact Assessment prior to Members making any final decisions.

Let us have your views by filling in the Darlington Library Service Survey - Closed

The online library survey has been available for a six-week period and has now closed so we can collate the responses and feed them into the consultation process.  Further comments are still welcome until 31 May 2016. You can send your comments via email to feedback@darlington.gov.uk or you can complete the budget proposals online form.

Links

Library Service Proposals [PDF document]

W05 Cockerton Library [PDF document]

Related FAQs

All the books from the library / libraries won’t fit in the Dolphin Centre.

All the books from the library / libraries won’t fit in the Dolphin Centre.

The proposed public floor space in the Dolphin Centre is comparable to what we have now at Crown Street and we will provide appropriate storage for the books not on display. 

Has the Council looked at ways buildings or services could be looked after by local groups?

Has the Council looked at ways buildings or services could be looked after by local groups?

We appreciate that there might well be groups willing to take over running buildings or services. While it is important that they are aware of the costs and responsibilities they would take on, we would be very happy to receive proposals. Unfortunately the speed of the spending reductions mean that the Council does not have the time to work with groups over any length of time so proposals need to be firmed up quite soon. 

You blame Govt cuts but other towns/cities still have libraries and arts centres – is this a case of financial mismanagement?

You blame Govt cuts but other towns/cities still have libraries and arts centres – is this a case of financial mismanagement?

Darlington has always been regarded by our external auditors as good at financial management, this is not the reason we are facing such high levels of cuts. Other councils will also be announcing cuts over the coming months and years. The level of cuts required as a result of Government grant cuts vary depending on many factors, but generally deprived areas have been hit worse. Also, other councils have higher Council Taxes than Darlington so have more revenue from that source than us, so their cuts will be less.

Who actually owns Crown Street Library?

Who actually owns Crown Street Library?

The Council owns the building.

How much would it cost to save the library and the indoor market?

How much would it cost to save the library and the indoor market?

The market is not under threat of closure, so there is no single figure available to save it. With input from traders, the Council is looking for a partner to invest in and improve the market. The relocation of the central library from Crown Street reduces spending by £300,000, so if the relocation does not happen the Council would need to find alternative savings to balance the budget.

Why keep the Dolphin Centre – more people would want to save the library and market first?

Why keep the Dolphin Centre – more people would want to save the library and market first?

Unfortunately the lack of funding means the Council must take some very tough decisions and they have proposed that keeping the Dolphin Centre is important to the borough and it can be kept open at the same time as maintaining a town centre library. In terms of the market, as stated earlier it is not closing. It is hoped the recent announcement – that the Council is working with traders to identify a partner to take over the management of the market – will put an end to incorrect speculation that it will close. Closure of the Dolphin Centre would have a significant impact on the Council’s ability to narrow the health gap as a significant proportion of the population use the Dolphin Centre on a regular basis. You can, of course, suggest an alternative to be considered.

Has a full options appraisal been carried out to review how the library service could be made sustainable? If not, why not?

Has a full options appraisal been carried out to review how the library service could be made sustainable? If not, why not?

In 2011/12, the Council did carry out an options appraisal for the Library service, which considered a number of proposals:

1)              Remaining in current location

2a)          Remaining in current location but half time at Cockerton

2b)         Close Cockerton and operate from Crown Street only

3a)          Keep Cockerton and move Crown Street operation to Central Hall

3b)         Close Cockerton and move Crown Street operation to Central Hall

4a)          Keep Cockerton and move Crown Street operation to the Town Hall

4b)         Close Cockerton and move Crown Street operation to the Town Hall

Cabinet considered these options on 22 February 2012 and agreed to note budget reductions in the service of £242,000 through consolidation of management and operational restructure, reducing opening hours at Cockerton from 50 to 28, and further explore opportunities for savings beyond 2013/14.  The current approach adopted by Cabinet in responding to its financial challenge is to look at producing a core offer budget being what we believe to be a budget that meets our legal obligations, the Core Offer budget includes Crown Street library.  As part of Cabinet’s considerations of how to utilise the £2.5m futures fund they decided to include the Dolphin Centre.  The cost of the library and the Dolphin Centre overall could be reduced by £300,000 by relocating the library to the Dolphin Centre therefore this is judged to be the most cost effective model for the 2 services.

In addition you will be aware we have worked with various organisations to try and deliver a volunteer based library service at Cockerton unfortunately without success.

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?

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?

The Dolphin Centre has been subject to a number of reviews leading to significant reductions in operating costs in previous budget rounds.   A full option appraisal was carried out in 2012 considering the establishment of a Trust, working with other Councils and the private sector and the result of this was to continue to operate in house and continue to look for other options to reduce net costs.

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?

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?

The estimated cost of relocation of the Library is £1.1m this amount allows for the structural changes required and full fit out of the library.  We intend to produce a mixture of modern vibrant areas together with more traditional elements hopefully recycling some of the elements of Crown Street into the latter. There is an additional amount included in the MTFP of £600,000 to replace plant and equipment in the Dolphin Centre which will be undertaken at the same time to remove the need for more interruption to provision at another time.  The £1.7m is to be funded by prudential borrowing and will be repaid from within the Library and Dolphin Centre budgets and this repayment is taken into account when calculating the savings from the relocation of the library.

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?

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?

The costs of storage of the Art Collection and the archive are included in the existing Dolphin/Library budget.  Relocation costs are not yet finalised.

What is the estimated valuation for the sale of Crown Street Library?

What is the estimated valuation for the sale of Crown Street Library?

Clearly the market will decide the exact value of the assets however due to the costs of conversion etc. we do not expect the receipt to be significant in terms of the Council’s overall budget position 

What is the estimated valuation for the sale of Cockerton Library?

What is the estimated valuation for the sale of Cockerton Library?

Again the market will ultimately determine the value and like Crown Street we do not see the level of receipt as significant in terms of the overall budget position.

When will it be decided if there will be a replacement art gallery?

When will it be decided if there will be a replacement art gallery?

There has been no decision taken yet on how or if the Art Gallery will be re provided.  We are looking at options and are keen to work with you to find solutions.

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?

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?

Draft designs are not yet complete and we are looking at a number of new options and once complete we will be keen to share them with you and others to get your views. 

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?

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?

The ICT offer within the Library service will be reviewed and modernised in line with best practice and the intention is to provide at least the same number of work stations as there currently is across the Library service.  However, again, the detail is still being worked on.  

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?

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?

An Impact Assessment will be carried out following the completion of the Library survey and will be available for Cabinet to consider prior to making any final decision on the Library Service.  

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?

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?

Currently the Council is consulting on its proposals for the Library service and alongside this a survey is being circulated for users and non-users to complete, which will help inform any final decision.  The Library Needs Assessment will be presented to Cabinet before they make their final decision.  

We understand from the Land Registry that Darlington Borough Council has lost the covenant placed on Crown Street Library. When was it lost?

We understand from the Land Registry that Darlington Borough Council has lost the covenant placed on Crown Street Library. When was it lost?

We understand that the deeds and documents were lost in or about March 1974.  Further details are set out in the statutory declaration of Alan Thornthwaite Carling (formerly the Assistant Borough Solicitor to Darlington Borough Council), on 22 December 1983.  

Do Darlington Borough Council know what the covenant related to Crown Street Library said?

Do Darlington Borough Council know what the covenant related to Crown Street Library said?

The library opened in 1885 following a bequest in the will of Edward Pease.

Although we do not have the original records, it may well have been the case that the property was subject to a restrictive covenant. We understand that the deeds and documents were lost in or about March 1974, most probably during local government reorganisation with Durham County Council.

In 1983 statutory declaration was made by a former Assistant Borough Solicitor about the loss of deeds that occurred in 1974. This indicated that in 1983 the property was thought to be subject to a restrictive covenant that it should be ‘used for purposes of a public library forever. 

Land Registry records show the Council as the freehold owner, but there is reference made to lost deeds and documents and that restrictive covenants imposed before 9 September 2010 are still enforceable.

If there is a restrictive covenant concerning the Crown Street Building this does not prevent the library service from relocating to another building. It could however restrict the future use of Crown Street although there are steps that can be taken to have any restrictive covenant discharged.

A copy of the Statutory Declaration is available on the relateted proposal pages.

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? 

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? 

The document you refer to is a statutory declaration by Alan Thornthwaite Carling, at the time the Assistant Borough Solicitor to Darlington Borough Council, on 22 December 1983.  

How are discussions going with the Pease family? Have they had chance to see if they have got a copy of the covenant?

How are discussions going with the Pease family? Have they had chance to see if they have got a copy of the covenant?

We have contacted the Pease Family and they are reviewing their records to see if they have any documents that will be of assistance.

Are you any further forward in identifying where the borough collection and archives are going to be stored?

Are you any further forward in identifying where the borough collection and archives are going to be stored?

Further work is taking place with regard to suitable and appropriate locations for storing the Borough Collection and Archive.  However our working assumption is that they can be accommodated within the Dolphin Centre and other Council buildings.  

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?

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?

It is our intention to market the building, however should any such options be forthcoming the Council would consider them.

Why are you closing Crown Street Library?

Why are you closing Crown Street Library?

The Council has a duty to provide a library service and we will continue to do so. Our proposals include relocating the library service to a remodelled Dolphin Centre, which will deliver efficiencies, reducing the costs of the Central Library and Dolphin Centre by approximately £330,000.
It would also deliver a modern, accessible library for the town which will address many of the shortcomings of the Crown Street site such as poor toilet provision, baby change facilities, social/breakout space, cafe facilities, modern environment and improved ICT. 

What will happen to the Crown Street Library building – isn’t it covered by a restricted covenant?

What will happen to the Crown Street Library building – isn’t it covered by a restricted covenant?

The library opened in 1885 following a bequest from the will of Edward Pease (1834-1880) and we have been in touch with the Pease family about the Council’s budget proposals. Although we do not have the original records, it may well have been the case that the property was subject to a restrictive covenant and possibly a trust.
In 1983 a statutory declaration was made by a former Assistant Borough Solicitor about the loss of deeds that occurred in 1974. This indicated that in 1983 the property was thought to be subject to a restrictive covenant that it should be ‘used for purposes of a public library forever’.Land Registry records show the Council as the freehold owner, but there is reference made to lost deeds and documents and that restrictive covenants imposed before 9 September 2010 are still enforceable.
If there is a restrictive covenant concerning the Crown Street building this does not prevent the library service from relocating to another building. It could however restrict the future use of Crown Street. There are steps that can be taken to have a restrictive covenant removed. This would be by making an application to the Lands Tribunal, which has the power to vary or discharge covenants on land.

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

Why don’t you mothball Head of Steam and/or merge it with Locomotion at Shildon (which is free) and use the money to save Crown Street Library?

Why don’t you mothball Head of Steam and/or merge it with Locomotion at Shildon (which is free) and use the money to save Crown Street Library?

If you wish to put this forward as a suggestion it is something that could be considered. However, the Cabinet’s budget proposals reflect a desire to retain Loco No.1 and other key assets that are in the Head of Steam as they are a fundamental part of the town’s heritage. There is the opportunity to use that heritage to be a part of the town’s regeneration and visitor offer as we move toward the 200 years celebration of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025. The saving from closing the museum could be used to retain Crown Street, however further savings would also be required to keep Crown Street open as the cost of the Museum is less than would be required to keep Crown Street open.

Can you clarify the costs of the remodelled Dolphin Centre? On your website it says £779k , but in the One Darlington magazine (March) p.22, it says £1.7million, which is the correct figure please?

Can you clarify the costs of the remodelled Dolphin Centre? On your website it says £779k , but in the One Darlington magazine (March) p.22, it says £1.7million, which is the correct figure please?

The estimated cost of relocation of the Library is £1.1m.  There is an additional amount included in the MTFP of £600,000 to replace plant and equipment in the Dolphin Centre which will be undertaken at the same time to remove the need for more interruption to provision at another time.  The £1.7m is to be funded by borrowing (subject to Local Authority rules). The repayment costs will be repaid from the gross relocation savings and are included before the net saving of £300,000.

The £779,000 referred to on the website is the annual running costs for the remodelled Dolphin Centre. 

Could we bring together the libraries and museums service for all five boroughs in the Tees Valley to form one service where perhaps economies of scale can be achieved?  This may be a way of saving the library service in Darlington and keeping the library at Crown Street.  The Head of Steam Museum could also be included in the service and linked to other museums in the Tees Valley.  Has this been explored and if it has not, can it perhaps be explored?

Could we bring together the libraries and museums service for all five boroughs in the Tees Valley to form one service where perhaps economies of scale can be achieved?  This may be a way of saving the library service in Darlington and keeping the library at Crown Street.  The Head of Steam Museum could also be included in the service and linked to other museums in the Tees Valley.  Has this been explored and if it has not, can it perhaps be explored?

This has been looked at previously to some degree. The complexity is that libraries tend to be managed in different ways in different places – in some they are in education, some leisure, some culture. This makes the exercise of separating out costs and people much more complex and often there will be a raft of cross subsidy going on. There appears to be little appetite from other authorities at present and regrettably the timescale involved is impractical, as it would probably take a minimum of a year with uncertainty as to whether it could actually achieve the scale of savings we need.

Your Say

17 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal

Comment

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

I think it's a terrible shame to close the libraries in town and Cockerton. They are a vital cultural plus for the town. My granddaughters love Rhyme time there and it's so important for children to visit libraries to foster a love of books as a family. My earliest memories are of bring taken there regularly and u feel it is criminal to deny this to future generations.

Core LLE2 (Libraries Service)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

you've been trying to get rid of Cockerton library for years so this one is no surprise. It's not as if anyone uses it is it?????

Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

I would like to know why the volunteer side of Cockerton Library was not taken up

Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

As a frequent user of this library the proposal to close Cockerton library would very much negatively impact my life. I don't have Internet at home, so the only time I can access internet is through this library. As I don't have Internet I do not also have access to information so again without the library I would not be able to find resources etc. I also do not have money to spend on books (my favourite past time) so I would not be able to read anymore.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Cut W01 (Civic Theatre Break Even)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

John Dean Chair Darlington for Culture 07889 554931 The committee of Darlington for Culture met tonight (Friday Feb 5) to discuss Darlington Borough Council’s budget proposals and the damage they will do to the social cohesion of the town. We are outraged by the Government’s swingeing spending settlement and are throwing our full support behind The Northern Echo’s online petition to call for a Parliamentary debate on the spending targets that necessitated cuts to many crucially important services (to be found at http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/business/14255052.Sign_the_petition_to_save_Darlington_from_crippling_spending_cuts/) However, the DfC committee does not believe that the council should be completely absolved from blame and deplores the proposed closure of Crown Street and Cockerton Libraries and the withdrawal of the mobile library service. We remain to be convinced that the proposed replacement library in the Dolphin Centre will be anywhere near an adequate replacement. It is no surprise that the proposals to close libraries have sparked anger and Darlington for Culture will oppose these cuts because libraries are not just important cultural institutions but socially valuable and about much more than books. For readers, libraries are an important part of many people’s lives, enabling them to access books without having to pay for them, allowing people of all ages and all backgrounds to add richness to their lives. In addition, many children access books at libraries, supporting what often becomes a lifelong passion for reading. Closing Crown Street and Cockerton will adversely affect the lives of thousands of people, including the diverse groups that use these valuable community resources. Libraries host a wide range of community services and groups and all this is threatened. The computers contained in both libraries are a lifeline for many people who use them to apply for jobs, apply for benefits and access information. The proposal to scrap the mobile library alarms us as well because of the service it provides to schools and isolated communities. In addition, we fear that the decision will result in the loss of the town’s art gallery, which currently resides in Crown Street Library and which has attracted many thousands of people to view a wide variety of works of art. We will also be asking the council why, as has been reported, it is necessary to use savings from cuts to the library service to help fund the restoration of Darlington Civic Theatre. While we support the restoration of the Civic, indeed we submitted a letter in support of the bid for Heritage Lottery Funding, we remain concerned that the borough’s much loved library facilities may be sacrificed to plug an apparent gap about which we certainly had heard nothing. In the case of Cockerton Library, Darlington Borough Council has had several opportunities to work with the community over the past three years in order to devise a future for the Library and has failed to take advantage of them. Darlington for Culture has been one of the organisations ready to help with the right support and has been involved in many of the discussions. We urge the council to renew efforts to seek ways of working in partnership with the community to keep the library open because it is an important service for the people of Cockerton and neighbouring areas. We urge the council to look again at its proposals to close Cockerton Library and to reconsider its proposals for the library service in general. We also view with dismay the proposals to sell off or close the covered market which is such an important building in the town. We will be urgently seeking answers from the council to all these issues and the apparent gap in the Theatre’s finances. We will also be seeking clarity on whether further cuts to arts and culture are buried in the small print. Darlington for Culture is an organisation owned and run by individual and organisational members across the town. We will be calling a special meeting of our members to discuss how we proceed in the face of these devastating cuts.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Cut W04 (Library - Local Studies)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

As a user of Darlington's library services I will be responding to your request for comments on the Council's proposals, but first I need more details. Those published by the Council so far are inadequate, I'm afraid. The form I spotted in Crown Street library last week (I had to search hard to find, and it is confusingly called a Service Survey), and the tiny display there (which people need to lean over a table to read), give no more than sketchy information. Strangely though, the Dolphin Centre - which is also affected by the proposals (and, contrary Council claims, not just the Registrar's Service) has no publicity material at all! When I asked about this, the reception staff and their supervisor knew nothing more than they had read in the Northern Echo. So my first questions are: Q1, What steps is the Council taking to fully inform and consult the residents of Darlington on its proposals (in their entirety, but specifically the library services) - as this probably the most far-reaching ever to affect residents? Will there be a Town Crier type of newsletter? Or something to be sent out with the Council Tax notices? Q2, What proposals are there to improve and draw attention to the existing 'publicity' in the Crown Street Library? Q3, What proposals are there to consult users of the Dolphin Centre, including users of the squash courts and the children's play area? Q4, Will the Council please publish alongside its proposals drawings for the Dolphin centre, the existing plans there, so that the changes there can be properly assessed? Crown Street library building has many constituent aspects. The Council needs to make clearer which it is closing, which it is relocating - and how much of the latter it is downscaling and to what extent. The Service Survey says that the services being relocated 'include': "lending library; children's library; reference library; Centre for Local Studies; library events; ICT facilities; public art display". An FAQ on the Council's website adds that "The proposed public floor space in the Dolphin Centre is comparable to what we have now at Crown Street." That all seems to be seems to be saying, "Don't worry; everything that is currently at Crown Street will be accommodated within the Dolphin Centre". But that cannot be true with such a significant loss of floorspace - more than a fifth of the total claimed 'public space' (the Survey says from 838m2 down to 651m2: a loss of 187m2 or 2,100sqft). And a lot more than that when storage space and the closure of Cockerton library is taken into account. The basement at Crown Street holds a stock of books, documents, photographs, newspapers, etc, which are an essential part of the running of the library as they can be, and are, called up on request by library users. The loss of floorspace at Cockerton will put further demand on the town centre facility. So, in respect of the basement at Crown Street: Q5a, What is the usable storage space (in m2) there at present? Q5b, What is the length of shelving (in m), and how many items are there? Q5c, How much of this material will be relocated to the Dolphin Centre? (The proposals drawings show no storage space there.) Q5d, What will happen to the rest of these items? Similarly, in respect of Cockerton: Q6a, What is the 'public floorspace' that will be lost when that closes? Q6b, What is the length of shelving (in m), and how many items are there? Q6c, How much of this material will be relocated to the Dolphin Centre? Q6d, What will happen to the rest of these items? Now some questions of the different aspects of Crown Street: Q7, The Art Gallery. In what form will this be relocated? Will there be a dedicated gallery area, or are you proposing merely to stick a few pictures on the walls? If so, will they be scattered around the library, or concentrated where they can be explained and supervised? Q8, ICT facilities. How many PCs are there in this area (ie. excluding the local studies room) at present and how many will be provided in the new library? Q9, ICT tuition. Will there be a dedicated area for tuition, as at present, and how will this be screened to avoid noise disturbance to others in the library? Q10, Centre for Local Studies. Can you please clarify your intentions for this, the element of the library that simply cannot be replicated by the likes of bookshops, cyber cafes or play schemes? The published information on this is confusing: the Service Survey says it will be relocated. But document LLE2 (Core Offer Budget For Libraries Service) on the website says "The Centre for Local Studies will be closed as part of the proposed core offer". Meanwhile another part of the website says "how the service will actually be delivered in a relocated central library is yet to be fully developed but it will have less open access than current facilities and may well involve appointment system for certain information (Reference: Cabinet papers, Item 6, paragraph 52(f))". If the local studies facility is retained but downsized: Q11a, How will its floorspace compare with at present? Q11b, How will the number of items available immediately, or on immediate retrieval from storage, compare between the present and as proposed (in no. of items)? Q11c, How will the number and type of study facilities compare between the present and as proposed (in terms of i) desk study spaces; ii) dedicated study computers; iii) dedicated study microfilm viewers; iv) other study equipment)? Q11d, What will happen to any documentary items that are not taken to the Dolphin Centre? Q11e, How will this area of quiet study be screened from noise and disturbance from other library activities such as children's activities and ICT tuition classes? Finally, to the lending library: Q12a, How will the number of items typically available compare between the present (at Crown Street and Cockerton, separately and combined) and as proposed (in no. of items)? Q12b, What will happen to items that are too numerous to be moved to the Dolphin Centre? Q12c, Will existing shelving be transferred to the Dolphin Centre, or will new shelving be bought? I'm sure the work that has been carried out to draw up the proposals will have needed the answers to such questions, so your officers should be able to supply them easily, together with the further information such as the existing floor plans of the Dolphin Centre. I look forward to receiving them, as I'm sure many other citizens will.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Core EffR9 (Registrars)
Cut W04 (Library - Local Studies)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)
Cut S14 (Strategic Grant Budget)

Darlington LG Branch of Unison would like to put forward some practical suggestions as to how to retain the Central Library at Crown Street. Some of the ideas could easily apply to Cockerton Library too. • The agency staff cost was around £3 million for 2015 (use of casual staff and overtime could offset some agency costs). Around 15% of savings on these costs would equate to the proposed savings for restructuring the library service. • Site an offshoot of the Dolphin Centre café within the library – Waterstones and other bookshops seem to make this model work for them. Not only will they pay for coffee but they will also be drawn to other services, local studies for example. There is a huge interest in local history, perhaps if more people were drawn to the library and shown how to access it then it could build footfall. • Site an offshoot of a community/voluntary service there – credit union, CAB, Age UK – at a charge • Offer pop up shop space or short term rental space for businesses such as Waterstones, Art Shop, Gallerina, House of Fraser, colleges, foot outlets, garden centre (Council grown flowers) etc. • Xentrall to expand their services and offer a chargeable IT support service to the public, possibly sited at Crown Street • If there is any space in the basement, they could rent out archive space to other authorities. • Co-locate Registrars in Crown Street along with the library. • Offer basement space to start-up businesses. • As has previously been suggested, offer the committee suite as accommodation to other public services. Income can be used to support the library. These are just a few of the suggestions that could help support the service, if there is a willingness to do so.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Core LLE2 (Libraries Service)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

The library service in Darlington provides equal opportunities for all children and young people to access a wide range of literature. There have been many studies that show children and adults who read regularly thrive both academically and socially. Reading also promotes good mental health and is beneficial to elderly people, both mentally and emotionally. Closing the library in Darlington would impact all areas of the community, limiting academic attainment in children and contributing to isolation in elderly people. The library promotes ties in the community through groups run at both Crown street and Cockerton.

Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

I think it is fairer for all residents that there are no branch libraries so I would support this cut. I wonder how this area was chosen to have its own branch, when other areas do not? It may well be more difficult for people from other areas of town to access Crown Street - i.ie. those with less frequent bus services. The Cockerton area is very well served with bus services. Also, if the costs of running Cockerton were saved from the Budget, this would help the Library stay in Crown Street and not have to be moved.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Cut W03 (Library Service Mobile Library)
Cut W04 (Library - Local Studies)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

I am opposed to the closure and sale of the Crown Street library, the closure of Cockerton Library and the ending of the Mobile Library and the relocation of the Central Library to the Dolphin Centre. My reasons for opposing the proposals are as follows:

1. Crown Street Library was a gift to the people of Darlington by the Pease family to remain as a library forever. The building has a covenant on it which protects it as a library forever Trying to get the covenant lifted will take a long time and will be very expensive for the Council. There will undoubtedly be a large number of objections when it comes before the Land Tribunal for adjudication.

2. It would be foolish to move the library from Crown Street to the Dolphin Centre with so many issues unresolved. No one is going to buy the Crown Street building with a covenant still unresolved.

3. The Council do not have the right to sell the Crown Street library building because it belongs to the people of Darlington. The Council are the custodians of the building.

4. Closing Crown Street library, using it for a different purpose for which it was intended by the Pease Family or leaving it derelict will considerably and irreversibly damage the heritage and culture of Darlington which so many people have worked hard to protect.

5. There is no indication from the Council what the Crown Street library building would be used for if the Council does manage to get the covenant lifted and move the library to the Dolphin Centre. Moving the library to the Dolphin Centre will leave the Council with an empty building which they will have to pay to keep secure which will be expensive. What happened to the Arts Centre when it was left derelict for years and suffered vandalism will undoubtedly happen to the Crown Street building. Having a derelict building in Crown Street will blight the surrounding streets and the town centre and the shops and businesses based there.

6. Crown Street Library is well used and is greatly loved by the people of Darlington which has been clearly demonstrated by the demonstration in Crown Street and the large response to the campaign by the Northern Echo.

7. The Dolphin Centre is clearly unsuitable for housing a library. The area where the library is proposed to be located in the Dolphin Centre is 70 square meters smaller than the ground floor of the Crown Street Library.

8 Cockerton Library is well used not only for library purposes but as community hub for other services.

9. The proposals for the Local Studies Centre at Crown Street Library lacks clarity. It has been suggested that the contents will be dispersed to other Council buildings and people needing to use the service will have to make an appointment. This will discourage people from using the service. The current walk in arrangements which is extremely popular should be retained.

10 The ending of the Mobile Library will severely disadvantage people who are housebound, the elderly, the disabled, people who have illnesses and people who live in villages who do not have transport and cannot rely on public transport because the frequency of bus services have been cut back severely.

I fully support the Communities Libraries Steering Group Business Case for the Future of the Library Service in Darlington and hope that the Council will work with the Steering Group to keep Crown Street and Cockerton Libraries open, the services in the buildings to continue and the Mobile Library kept serving people who find it impossible to access the libraries.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Core LLE2 (Libraries Service)
Cut W03 (Library Service Mobile Library)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

I oppose the closure and sale of the Crown Street library, the closure of Cockerton Library and the ending of the Mobile Library and the relocation of the Central Library to the Dolphin Centre. Crown Street Library was a gift to the people of Darlington by the Pease family to remain as a library forever. I believe the building has a covenant on it which protects it as a library forever. Surely to get the covenant lifted will take a long time and will be very expensive for the Council. With unresolved issues it makes no sense to move the library from Crown Street to the Dolphin Centre. No one is going to buy the Crown Street building with a covenant still unresolved.
I dont believe the Council have the right to sell the Crown Street library building because it belongs to the people of Darlington. The Council are only custodians of the building. Closing Crown Street library, using it for a different purpose for which it was intended by the Pease Family or leaving it derelict will considerably and irreversibly damage the heritage and culture of Darlington which so many people have worked hard to protect. Moving the library to the Dolphin Centre will leave the Council with an empty building which they will have to pay to keep secure which will be expensive. What happened to the Arts Centre when it was left derelict for years and suffered vandalism will undoubtedly happen to the Crown Street building. Having a derelict building in Crown Street will blight the surrounding streets and the town centre and the shops and businesses based there. Crown Street Library is well used and is greatly loved by the people of Darlington.. The Dolphin Centre is clearly unsuitable for housing a library. The area where the library is proposed to be located in the Dolphin Centre is much smaller than the ground floor of the Crown Street Library. Cockerton Library is well used not only for library purposes but as community hub for other services. The plans for the Local Studies Centre at Crown Street Library is unclear. Rumours that the contents will be dispersed to other Council buildings and people needing to use the service will have to make an appointment wiill discourage people from using the service. The ending of the Mobile Library will severely disadvantage people who are housebound, the elderly, the disabled, people who have illnesses and people who live in villages who do not have transport and cannot rely on public transport.
I am in support of the Communities Libraries Steering Group Business Case for the Future of the Library Service in Darlington and hope that the Council will work with the Steering Group to keep Crown Street and Cockerton Libraries open, the services in the buildings to continue and the Mobile Library kept serving people who find it impossible to access the library buildings.

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Core EffR5 (Members Allowances)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

A letter about the suggested proposals, including Crown Street library and Cockerton Library

Documents


FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Cut Hu01 (Childrens Centres, Early Help and intervention - Specialist Family Support)
Core LLE12 (Indoor and Outdoor Markets)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

This is a transcription of a comment made during the public meetings held during the budget consultation:

Q; There’s a lot of debt and a lot of people are suffering because of the debt. A lot of money has been wasted by the Council. Like the water feature, a lot of people did not want that. We are losing a lot of historical features like Cockerton and Crown Street Libraries and the market. A lot of people are proud to live in Darlington but we are losing so much of the history. We hear that suicide rates are increasing in Darlington. A lot of people will not be able to get to a Sure Start in the town centre. The town is going to be like a ghost town.

A: There is a misunderstanding about what our debt it. Of the £151m about £71m is in a separate, housing revenue account and is ring fenced. £80m debut is for capital schemes – one off things that we need a large amount of money for. When we built the office block behind the Town Hall to help jobs in the town, the debt in this instance is serviced by the rent for the building.
The Government has stopped giving us money to help pay off our debt. When we went into debt we thought the Government would help us. All local authorities have debt for capital schemes. The revenue budget which is being cut, is largely separate from this debt. Only a small percentage of the revenue budget goes to pay off the debt

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Core LLE2 (Libraries Service)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

This is a transcription of comments made during the public meetings held during the budget consultation:

Q: If you decide to move Crown Street Library to the Dolphin Centre, what’s going to happen to the Crown Street building? It was gifted to the people of the town by Joseph Pease.
Q: Why don’t you knock down the Town Hall, move council staff into the Dolphin Centre and leave Crown Street Library where it is.
Q: Closing Cockerton and Crown Street Libraries, to be replaced with something shoe-horned into the Dolphin Centre, isn’t an adequate solution.
Q: Leave the library in Crown Street, a lot of people depend on it.
Q: If you had a shelf of books you valued in your home, the last place you would put them is next to a bathroom. Crown Street Library should be left where it is as a legacy for our children.

A: (Cllr Wallis) None of these are a done deal. These are proposals we are making. If people do not believe we should be pursuing option A, B or C they need to let us know what we should be doing. We are working with the Peases to see how they feel about the covenant. Crown Street Library is a grade II-listed building and is protected in a way that the Covered Market isn’t. There’s hundreds, if not thousands, of staff who work in the Town Hall. We can’t fit them into the Dolphin Centre.

Q: What would happen to the local history books?
A: We are retaining some local history facilities

Core LLE2 (Libraries Service)
Cut W03 (Library Service Mobile Library)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

It was with dismay that I heard of the proposal/decision for the closure of the libraries in Crown St and Cockerton and the discontinuation of the Mobile Library service. The library has been a major part of my life ever since I joined the library when I was about 8 years old (I am now 76). I have recently been researching the life of my great-uncle who was librarian at Cork when the library there was burned down by the British Army in Dec 1920, during the Irish War of Independence. I would like to quote to you from a book by Thomas McCarthy "Rising from the Ashes" which is a quotation in itself from the "Cork Examiner" 10 Jan 1921 which was part of an appeal by Mr Wilkinson and two colleagues for beginning to restock their library. "The destruction of a library, large or small - whether Alexandria, Louvain or Cork - always appears as a crime against humanity, a violation of the sacred neutrality of the world of letters, art and scholarship."

FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
FF 52f (Libraries – Local Studies)
Cut W03 (Library Service Mobile Library)
Cut W04 (Library - Local Studies)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

Consultation response letter from Darlington for Culture

Documents


FF 52b (A Remodelled Dolphin Centre including the Central Library)
Cut W04 (Library - Local Studies)
Cut W05 (Cockerton Library)

Darlington for Culture library business case

Documents