Cockerton Library at risk of closure again, council leader admits

Darlington and Stockton Times: At risk again: Cockerton library At risk again: Cockerton library

COCKERTON Library could be at risk of closure for the second time in a year, after the leader of the council admitted “it has to be high on the list of cuts”.

One of only two public libraries in Darlington, the Cockerton branch is well used by residents, but has long been considered under threat from budget cuts.

The facility was earmarked for closure last year, but Darlington Borough Council made a u-turn on the decision in the face of public opposition and a petition that gathered more than 3,000 signatures.

A group called Friends of Darlington Libraries was set up to support the library, which now operates under reduced opening hours.

When asked if the library was at risk, Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of the council, said: “Cockerton Library has got to be high on the agenda.

“The situation has not really got any better since last year and the business case does not add up.

“Despite the initial flush of volunteers there are now very few involved in the library. I think they think they won and that was it.

“The tragedy is that there are a lot of books lent from there and in an ideal world we would not close it.

“As well used as the place may be, they need the public to go the extra mile to save it.”

The Friends of Darlington Libraries group no longer meets regularly but Mike Crawley, who was a member of the group, said: “The reason the volunteers have drifted off is that people who are in charge of the libraries in Darlington said no to anything we asked to do.

“If you get rebuffed so many times in the end you don’t even bother to think about it. We wanted to do something like make it into a community centre but they kept twittering on about health and safety and things like that.

“We were not allowed to open it up to other groups, we were not allowed a coffee shop or toilets and we were not able to have volunteers helping out in the library so what else were we to do?

“We suggested two years ago that they hand it over to the community totally but they messed us around. They need to be serious about what they want to do with it.”

Comments (9)

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4:15pm Fri 19 Jul 13

BMD says...

Mike Crawley: “We suggested two years ago that they hand it over to the community totally, but they messed us around. They need to be serious about what they want to do with it.”

Councillor Bill Dixon & his cronies have made the decision and will have another hidden agenda...
Mike Crawley: “We suggested two years ago that they hand it over to the community totally, but they messed us around. They need to be serious about what they want to do with it.” Councillor Bill Dixon & his cronies have made the decision and will have another hidden agenda... BMD
  • Score: 1

4:24pm Fri 19 Jul 13

magpie1 says...

close it or keep it open, make up your minds. its a shame if its to close as myself and my child love to walk to this library instead of heading into town
close it or keep it open, make up your minds. its a shame if its to close as myself and my child love to walk to this library instead of heading into town magpie1
  • Score: 2

5:03pm Fri 19 Jul 13

JJ2000 says...

Can't help but feel that the closure would allow an easy sell off for the council.

If the best interests of the community are at the heart of Darlington Council, then the councillors need to define clear terms to the community groups as to what may or may not be allowed.

And if the Library does become community owned, then it's down to the group who owns it to address Health and safety concerns, not the council.
Can't help but feel that the closure would allow an easy sell off for the council. If the best interests of the community are at the heart of Darlington Council, then the councillors need to define clear terms to the community groups as to what may or may not be allowed. And if the Library does become community owned, then it's down to the group who owns it to address Health and safety concerns, not the council. JJ2000
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Fri 19 Jul 13

oliviaden6 says...

Sell off they will give it to one of there cronies to make a fortune on?
This council is beyond redemption it hasn't a clue from one day to the next it is fighting fires every step of the way. Give up Bill and be honest with yourself walk away. It is one thing after another from one end of the borough to the other you have alienated the electorate and lost all confidence as a so called leader??????????????
???
Sell off they will give it to one of there cronies to make a fortune on? This council is beyond redemption it hasn't a clue from one day to the next it is fighting fires every step of the way. Give up Bill and be honest with yourself walk away. It is one thing after another from one end of the borough to the other you have alienated the electorate and lost all confidence as a so called leader?????????????? ??? oliviaden6
  • Score: 2

9:25pm Fri 19 Jul 13

Savant_NE says...

Everything seems to be seen as ways of 'saving' money .Can't they look at ways of making money.Put a cafe in , it already has internet , Toddlers group or Arts and Crafts.A Library is part of the fabric of the community and could I'm sure play a bigger part.There must be other ways of looking at this in ways to build a community instead of this endless cutback .Not everything has to be seen as a possible way of cutting costs .What happens when the recession is over.Will there be any community left.You should look at what would enhance the Cockerton Library and adapt it to the community needs for the future
Everything seems to be seen as ways of 'saving' money .Can't they look at ways of making money.Put a cafe in , it already has internet , Toddlers group or Arts and Crafts.A Library is part of the fabric of the community and could I'm sure play a bigger part.There must be other ways of looking at this in ways to build a community instead of this endless cutback .Not everything has to be seen as a possible way of cutting costs .What happens when the recession is over.Will there be any community left.You should look at what would enhance the Cockerton Library and adapt it to the community needs for the future Savant_NE
  • Score: 3

12:53pm Sat 20 Jul 13

Savant_NE says...

If the Library was to be tranfered to the Cockerton Band and Musical Institute Social Club across the road.The CIU would be going back to its roots,but only provide a basic service,could it be revived by an educational centre with a degree of funding.
If the council close the Library would the building not just fall into disrepair.
If the Library was to be tranfered to the Cockerton Band and Musical Institute Social Club across the road.The CIU would be going back to its roots,but only provide a basic service,could it be revived by an educational centre with a degree of funding. If the council close the Library would the building not just fall into disrepair. Savant_NE
  • Score: 1

7:09pm Sat 20 Jul 13

Spy Boy says...

They obviously have some other use for the site. I bet the new flats have already been drawn up ready so that work can start as soon as the library is closed. We all knew this was happening didn't we. Typical council bluffing tactics. Vote them out before we lose everything.
They obviously have some other use for the site. I bet the new flats have already been drawn up ready so that work can start as soon as the library is closed. We all knew this was happening didn't we. Typical council bluffing tactics. Vote them out before we lose everything. Spy Boy
  • Score: 1

10:59am Mon 22 Jul 13

G Harris says...

So, councillor Dixon, if you and the other public servants on the council, took a 1% cut in your allowances, as was suggested at Saturdays meeting, that would be the start of some big savings. Or, volunteer for your community, as you're expecting the rest of us to do. Massive saving there! How much time do councillors and politicians think ordinary people have? Maybe we can fit running a library in between full time work, caring for elderly relatives and supporting our adult kids who can't get jobs. Should give us a good 5 minutes.
So, councillor Dixon, if you and the other public servants on the council, took a 1% cut in your allowances, as was suggested at Saturdays meeting, that would be the start of some big savings. Or, volunteer for your community, as you're expecting the rest of us to do. Massive saving there! How much time do councillors and politicians think ordinary people have? Maybe we can fit running a library in between full time work, caring for elderly relatives and supporting our adult kids who can't get jobs. Should give us a good 5 minutes. G Harris
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Tue 23 Jul 13

BMD says...

ANDREW PIERCE: Labour clings on to council gravy train

Two-faced Labour councillors across the country are trying to boost their own bank accounts at taxpayers’ expense while at the same time whingeing about cuts to public services.
In a deeply hypocritical move, I can reveal that they are fighting to stop Communities Secretary Eric Pickles scrapping their gold-plated pensions.

Introduced by the Blair government a decade ago during the economic good times, these include a lump sum at retirement age, an early ‘retirement’ deal if they are voted out of office and life insurance for any councillor’s spouse.

This largesse is available even though payments to councillors have soared by 150 per cent in the past five years and now cost more than £200 million a year.

How things have changed — much for the worse — since 1998, before which councillors used to do the job with no pay or pensions but out of a sense of civic duty.
ANDREW PIERCE: Labour clings on to council gravy train Two-faced Labour councillors across the country are trying to boost their own bank accounts at taxpayers’ expense while at the same time whingeing about cuts to public services. In a deeply hypocritical move, I can reveal that they are fighting to stop Communities Secretary Eric Pickles scrapping their gold-plated pensions. Introduced by the Blair government a decade ago during the economic good times, these include a lump sum at retirement age, an early ‘retirement’ deal if they are voted out of office and life insurance for any councillor’s spouse. This largesse is available even though payments to councillors have soared by 150 per cent in the past five years and now cost more than £200 million a year. How things have changed — much for the worse — since 1998, before which councillors used to do the job with no pay or pensions but out of a sense of civic duty. BMD
  • Score: 0

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