A MUSEUM housing artefacts and exhibits of a famous North-East regiment is set to close ahead of plans to make the collection available to a wider audience in Durham, it was confirmed today (October 21).

A report on the future of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) collection, which has been housed at the museum at Aykley Heads, in Durham City, for nearly 50 years, was presented to Durham County Council’s cabinet meeting.

The collection belongs to the Trustees of the Regimental and Chattels Charity of the Former Durham Light Infantry and the Regimental Museum of the former DLI, but is under the care of the council.

During the meeting, councillors heard how the building is expensive to maintain and requires significant investment while visitor numbers are low compared to other museums in the region.

Plans to move the collection to the Sevenhills building in Spennymoor, where secure, environmentally-controlled accommodation of a more suitable size could be provided, were agreed by the board.

The authority also backed proposals to make the collection more accessible to the public by working with partner organisations to arrange temporary loans and exhibitions and to improve the interaction with a wider range of visitors.

The council will now work with Durham University to create a semi-permanent five-year agreement that will see part of the collection on display at Palace Green Library.

The museum’s education programme will also be maintained in order to support the story of the DLI, which will operate as an outreach function from Sevenhills.

The council’s head of culture and sport, Stephen Howell said the plans would make sure the DLI stories were “kept alive for future generations”.

Councillor Neil Foster, the council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “We have got to ensure that what we are doing with it is best for the collection.

“Given those changes I think this is the best solution we can come up with and I think it’s a very positive solution.”

He added: “We appreciate how important the DLI has been to the county and it’s our duty to their legacy to make sure that access to the information is available not just for those who visit but also those who live in Durham.”

The DLI building is now set to close to the public on April 1, 2016 and a further report will be prepared regarding the future of Durham Art Gallery.