OPPOSITION councillors are challenging the process by which a council decided to close a military museum.

Six Liberal Democrat, Conservative and independent members of Durham County Council have backed an attempt to have the closure of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Museum, in Aykley Heads, Durham City, “called in” for further scrutiny.

Lib Dem Mark Wilkes, who has led the effort, said there had been a complete lack of proper consultation with the public and opposition councillors and Labour members knew of the closure plan long before local members, who were only informed once there was no chance of any changes being made.

He also said there were concerns not all the possible alternatives to closure, such as asking volunteers to run the facility, had been considered.

“Whilst there may be elements of the proposals which are positive, it is felt that cabinet should consider our concerns and carry out a meaningful consultation with the general public,” he said.

“The way in which the council has gone about this process has left many people deeply upset and in some cases very angry. By not asking public views it has brought into question the democratic process. The council can address some of this by taking a step back and listening.”

Cllr Joe Armstrong, chair of the council’s overview and scrutiny wing, will consider the call in request with officers tomorrow (Friday, October 30).

He said: “We have an open mind about it. The request is about procedure so I’ll be looking at the procedure to ensure we’re right within our constitution. If we’re not, we’ll have to get it put right.”

The scrutiny committee could ask the cabinet to look again at the decision.

The other signatories to the call in request were Lib Dem leader Amanda Hopgood, deputy leader Owen Temple and Richard Ormerod, Tory leader Richard Bell and independent Audrey Willis.

The council decided to close the 50-year-old museum and move the collection to the Spennymoor’s Sevenhills building, which has secure, environmentally-controlled facilities. Temporary loans and exhibitions are planned and talks have begun with Durham University over a display at Palace Green Library.