The Cabinet considered a report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth which detailed the outcomes of the further feasibility studies that have been undertaken following agreement by Cabinet in September 2021 to consider the options for the refurbishment and reopening of the former DLI Museum and Art Gallery (DLIMAG) and grounds. The report set out an approach to bring it back into use as an exhibition centre, gallery, and café venue with appropriate reflective and contemplative grounds (for copy of report see file of minutes).
Councillor Scott in moving the recommendations advised that the swift delivery of the comprehensive feasibility study into the options demonstrate the clear commitment of Cabinet to deliver on the promises it had made to carefully consider the re-opening and re-development of the former DLI museum and art gallery. She thanked staff for their hard work in bringing this together and advised that the views of key stakholders had re-enforced the importance of this collection and the proud history of this regiment to the people of county Durham and beyond, which had also demonstrated a significant gap in the cultural offer. Option 3 which was considered to be the best value for money while delivery an excellent cultural and visual art venue.
Councillor Bell thanked the Corporate Director and cabinet member in bringing this report. He explained that the redevelopment of the site was integral to the broader opportunities of the redevelopment of the Aykley heads site. The study which was wide ranging and had been supported by independent advice and would complement the planned history centre development. He highlighted the financial impact of the redevelopment. He was delighted that they would be able to display more of the proud heritage and fill the cultural gap.
Councillor Wilkes applauded officers for working so hard on this, and how he was delighted to see that the DLI would be fully renovated and in a stunning environment to be proud of. He explained the importance of remembering the past and that it would be restored for future generations.
Councillor Sexton as armed forces champion advised that he was fully in support of this and thanked all for their hard work. He advised that by undertaking this work it would provide for a true tribute to the memory of those from the regiment.
Having regard to the corresponding exempt report, the recommendations in the report be approved.