Cheshire Archives and Local Studies relocation consultation
This consultation will run from 8 April 2014 until 30 June 2014. Results will then be analysed and reported following the end of the consultation. This will be via this website and at the Cheshire Record Office.
Drop-in sessions have been arranged to give you the chance to find out more about the service, talk to us and pick up a consultation form:
- Warrington Central Library: 11th June, 10.00am – 1.00pm
- Cheshire Record Office: 21st June, 10.00am-1.00pm
- Macclesfield Town Hall: 21st June, 11.00am-2.00pm (as part of the Town Hall Open day)
- Widnes Library: 25th June, 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils are running this consultation, in partnership with Warrington and Halton Borough Councils and Livewire CIC, to gather views about locations being considered as a potential new home for Cheshire Archives and Local Studies service. The results of the consultation will be used to support future decisions about any future home for the service.
The current home for Cheshire’s unique and irreplaceable archives, the Cheshire Record Office in Chester, has been deemed inadequate by the National Archives and by elected members within Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils. 6 locations within Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East have been identified as potential homes for a new facility.
About Cheshire Archives and Local Studies
The Archives and Local Studies service preserves and provides access to the historic written record of the county of Cheshire. The archives reflect the lives, interests and activities of Cheshire’s communities from the 12th century to the present day and are used and enjoyed by over 1 million people each year, at the Cheshire Record Office in Chester, via Local Studies collections in libraries, via the service’s website and through outreach events and activities.
The storage conditions for Cheshire’s unique and irreplaceable written heritage, however, are inadequate. The environmental conditions do not meet current standards and there is little expansion space for the growing collection held by the service. Customer facilities at the Record Office are cramped and increasingly do not meet customers’ needs. These issues were identified by a National Archives inspection of the service in 2010, which led to a review of the service in 2012. The recommendation arising from this review was that an analysis of potential sites for new premises should be undertaken. This took place between January and March 2014.
Locations below have been identified as potentially suitable for the Archives and Local Studies service. These were chosen by elected members of Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils, advised and supported by officers:
- Chester: former Enterprise Centre, Hoole Road
- Crewe: town centre site as part of regeneration programme for the town
- Ellesmere Port: EPIC Leisure Centre
- Middlewich: town centre site as part of regeneration programme for the town
- Northwich: Watling Street council offices
- Winsford: Verdin Exchange
The existing Record Office at Duke Street, Chester, is also being assessed to see if it is feasible to bring the building up to the required environmental standards and to create expansion space.
All are town centre sites, except the Chester Enterprise Centre option, which is about 1 mile from the city centre. At present these are all just proposals, however, and the purpose of the consultation is to determine people’s views on the general location rather than specific sites. It is possible that, as this project develops, alternative sites within these locations might become available.
Later in 2014 further decisions will need to be taken about a future home for the service. Looking further forward, should funding be secured from within Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council, with additional support from external funders such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, further consultation would take place to inform decisions about the internal design of a new facility and the services provided by the Archives and Local Studies service.