A DISPLAY cabinet which will cost around £75,000 has been approved by city councillors to exhibit ancient charters.

Hereford City Council approved the cost to set up a Civic Museum in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall in St Owen Street.

The money will be used to install a custom-built cabinet to display civic silver and some of the city's charters, which date back to 1189.

The charters are currently kept in the town hall's vaults and people can book an appointment to view them.

At the last city council meeting a vote was taken on whether councillors should approve the sum of £75,000 to be used from the council's reserves.

There are 18 councillors - 11 voted in favour, the mayor did not need to vote as there was not a split vote, Cllr Kevin Tillett voted against it and Cllr Paul Rone abstained. Four councillors were not present - Jim Kenyon, David Griffiths, Kath Hey and Martin Baker.

Cllr Tillett said: "I voted against it because it is a 'nice to have' not a 'need to have' project. At the current time it seems the wrong thing to spend money on."

He added: "My argument is it won't change the quality of life for a single resident of Hereford city."

Lucy Hurds, parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats, questioned how the council could spend that much money on a cabinet when central government funding to the county council will be reduced to nothing by 2019. She said ultimately these cuts will affect the city council.

She added: "Are you seriously telling me that when the county council have to cut services and they go to the city council, are they going to say, no we can't help we are buying a cabinet."

Ms Hurds also questioned whether the council could have applied for a grant or considered housing the charters at the Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre.

Deputy clerk for Hereford City Council, Tracy Morriss, said the charters are the responsibility of the city council.

She said: "At the moment everything is kept in the vaults which is fine if you are a person of good ability walking up and downstairs but it is not accessible to all."

The majority of councillors decided that everybody in the city should be able to see the charters, no matter what ability they had.

Ms Morriss said the council also wants to promote tourism and education on the history of the city.

Ms Morriss, added: "All the charters were given to the city by the various sovereigns from 1189 to the present-day sovereign.

"They all awarded something different to the city, everything from the Mayfair to different parts of the coat of arms to city status."

The money from reserves was initially earmarked for a tourist information centre in the city but since a new centre has opened at Rural Concierge in the Buttermarket, there is money left over to promote tourism further.