THE collection of the Durham Light Infantry could move back to the city as part of a plan to relocate the county’s archive.

The archive, which is currently housed at County Hall, in Aykley Heads, could move as part of plans to knock down the 1960s building goes ahead.

Durham County Council wants to move the archive to the old manor house at Mount Oswald, off South Road, in Durham, and has hopes of creating a history centre at the Grade II listed building.

It also hopes to move the registry service there and promote the building as a wedding venue.

It is planning to hold a public consultation into what could be housed at Mount Oswald, with options including the collection of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI), which was moved from Aykley Heads when the museum dedicated to the regiment closed.

The council has released further details of its plan to relocate from its headquarters at Aykley Heads and move to the city centre, leaving the area free for redevelopment as a business park.

However, it has made no announcement on what it plans to do with the DLI museum, which has now been empty for more than18 months.

Land in front of the museum, where the ashes of former servicemen have bee scattered, has not been included in the development plans.

Council leader councillor Simon Henig said: “We are very sensitive in relation to the fact that we know there are a lot of ashes which have been scattered in that area and we know it’s important to respect that area.”

The County Durham Archive, which goes back 900 years, is stored in poor conditions on approximately five miles of shelving at County Hall.

When the National Archives inspected the facilities last year it said it was unable to give the council full accreditation as a place of public record because of it’s condition.

The manor house, which dates from 1800, is now owned by the Banks Group, which is redeveloping the former golf course, who are in talks with the council over the possibility of transferring it to public ownership.

It is estimated it would cost between £14.8m and £17.7m to develop it as a history centre and the council is looking at trying to get a £4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help pay for the project.

Cllr Henig added: “It’s an important archive and bringing that to life with other things could be of huge interest to a lot of people.

“We are surrounded by history and heritage so if we could bring that to more of the public that would be a really positive addition to County Durham.”