DETAILS of Darlington Borough Council's plans to perform a U-turn and keep Crown Street Library open have now been published.

Yesterday, The Northern Echo revealed that Cabinet members were planning review the authority's controversial decision amid concerns over the future of the town centre.

New council leader Stephen Harker is calling on fellow members to overturn the decision at a meeting next week.

The Grade II listed building was earmarked for closure under strongly opposed council proposals to cut and change library services in a £12.5m programme of budget cuts that was announced in 2016.

Cllr Harker believes now is the perfect time to revisit the original decision after a Judicial Review ruled that the authority had not failed to follow due process when it carried out its consultation on the controversial idea.

"We never doubted that we would win the case but we had to see through the court case in Leeds before we could move forward," he said.

"The changes on the high street have proved a tipping point for us – two years ago it wasn't a problem but things have changed significantly in that time. We didn't want to be left with a an empty building in the centre of the town."

Cllr Heather Scott, Conservative group leader, welcomed the news but questioned how much money had been wasted on preparation work at the Dolphin Centre.

She said: "It is a U-turn and that decision has to be welcomed but it's just a shame that it has taken two years for them to listen to the public.

"What we really need to know is how much money has been spent so far – that is money that could have been used elsewhere and it has now just been wasted. That is one of the questions that we will be asking when it goes to cabinet next week.

"It is a historic building and council needs to protect it for the future so they need to look at developing new initiatives such has creating a Heritage Centre."

Although, preparation work had already started for the Dolphin Centre the local authority maintains that minimal work had been carried out on the site.

A council spokesman said: "Design work on how the library would have been located within the Dolphin Centre was undertaken by our architectural team and no significant works in relation to the relocation have taken place.

"In terms of utilising space within the Dolphin Centre, no decisions have been made yet and options will be considered in the near future."

Campaigners are hoping to work closely with the local authority and develop ideas to help continue to drive up numbers using the central library.

Liberal Democrat councillor and library campaigner Anne-Marie Curry believes the key to its success is a Tourist Information Centre and improved promotion of events taking place in the library.

Members of the council's cabinet committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss the proposals.