THE fight to save Darlington’s historic Crown Street Library will reach court next month.

At the end of November, a judge will consider Darlington Borough Council’s plans to cut and change library services across the town.

The contentious proposals would see the grade-II listed Crown Street Library closed and the majority of its resources moved to the nearby Dolphin Centre, where a new library service would be created.

In June 2016, campaigners hoping to save the library used legal aid to appoint Michael Imperato - one of the country’s leading judicial review lawyers – to challenge the council.

The prospect of a judicial review led to the authority setting aside their plans and entering into a second consultation period, with councillors eventually voting in March this year to approve the library's closure.

The vote prompted campaigners to launch a second legal challenge, forcing the council to put the plans on hold yet again.

Earlier this month, Cllr Nick Wallis said the lengthy delays would cost the authority at least £33,000 a month in lost savings from early 2018, when the library was set to close. The actual cost to the town is likely to be much higher, when considering legal costs associated with the case.

Campaigners repeatedly begged the council to engage with them to consider a different way forward that would allow the authority to run a reduced library service from within the existing Crown Street building.

Having failed in their efforts to negotiate with the council, the campaigners are now hoping a judge’s intervention will help to save their beloved library.

Cllr Anne Marie Curry, a member of the Friends of Darlington Libraries, said: “We are hoping that the points we have raised will be noted by the courts and that the council will learn how to better consult and to act in the best interests of the people of Darlington.”

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said representatives from the authority would present evidence to a preliminary hearing concerning a judicial review application at Leeds Combined Court on Tuesday, November 28.