DARLINGTON’S MP is urging its council to consider its contentious decision to close a historic library in light of challenges to the town centre.

Jenny Chapman spoke out after campaigners lost their High Court battle against Darlington Borough Council earlier this week.

The Friends of Darlington Library had challenged the legality and fairness of the authority’s actions in relation to proposals to close Crown Street Library and transfer the majority of its resources to the nearby Dolphin Centre.

Following a two-day judicial review, Mrs Justice Philippa Whipple ruled in the council’s favour, meaning that DBC could now progress with their plans unhindered.

However, Ms Chapman says the authority should now “pause to take stock”, adding: “The consultation drew criticism from some, however the process has been judged to be lawful and necessary following draconian cuts to the council’s budget from central government.

“There still remains opposition to the proposed move of services at Crown Street to the Dolphin Centre. This ought to be considered in the context of new challenges to Darlington town centre.

“At a time when town centres are struggling across the country, our own being hit with the closure of M&S and potentially Binns, we need to use every tool in the box to invigorate Darlington town centre.”

She added: “My own view is that the Council needs to consider its decision on the library in the light of these recent developments.

“There is no doubt that library services are fragile at the moment and if they are to inspire younger readers they need to have significant support across the whole community.”

On Wednesday, Darlington’s new council leader, Steve Harker, said that the authority needed to “pause for thought” in relation to the library proposals and to think about where to go following the conclusion of the legal action.