Cheshire East Council to hold exhibition on history centre plans
Cheshire East Council is holding a public exhibition on plans to deliver a state-of-the-art new history centre in Crewe – transforming access to Cheshire's archives and ensuring their preservation for future generations.
Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, which is a shared service of Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Councils, identifies, collects, and cares for archives and publications that are the evidence of our communities' lives, both past and present.
The service is driving forward plans to rehouse the collections in two bespoke new history centres, which will provide access to the archives for all – for information, learning and enjoyment.
The project, called 'Cheshire's archives: a story shared', will see a completely new history centre built in Crewe – proposed for the site of the town's old library in Memorial Square – and a new centre in Chester.
These will both replace the archive service's current facility in Chester, which is no longer fit for purpose, and support an outreach programme across Cheshire.
The plans for Crewe are now reaching their next major milestone, with a planning application due to be submitted later this summer. A similar application for the Chester site will follow.
To give people chance to have their say on the proposals and what they would like to see delivered as part of the scheme, the project team is holding a public exhibition at Crewe Market Hall between 2pm and 7pm on Thursday 14 July.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, lead for archives at Cheshire East Council, said: "It is hugely exciting that we are almost at the point of submitting the planning application for Crewe's history centre.
"This project is not just about providing a suitable and long-term home for Cheshire's collections, which stretch back more than 900 years.
"It is about bringing the collections closer to people and providing them with more opportunities to interact with them more easily – helping them to celebrate their personal and communities' histories.
"The centres will create improved spaces for staff and volunteers to work with collections, as well as provide more spaces for research, performances, and exhibitions, and act as a base for activities which will take archives to a wider audience across the county.
"In Crewe itself, while helping the town to celebrate its heritage and supporting the aims of the Crewe Cultural Strategy, the history centre is a key part of the town centre regeneration plans, particularly in the development of a 'cultural quarter', of which the Lifestyle Centre, Lyceum Theatre, Market Hall and plans to transform Lyceum Square – known as the 'Ly2' scheme – are all part of too.
"I encourage people to go along to the public exhibition and take a closer look at what is being proposed."
The archives project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a grant of £544,000 was awarded in 2019 to help fund the development of plans for the new centres in more detail.
A further grant application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund – expected to be made in October 2022 – will, if successful, fund the delivery of the project.
Those unable to attend the public exhibition but wish to have their say can do so by completing the online consultation, which will be live from 14 July. This is being hosted by planning consultants Avison Young at: www. avisonyoung.co.uk/planning-consultations/Crewe-History-Centre
Alternatively, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Avison Young, Norfolk House, 7 Norfolk Street, Manchester, M2 1DW with your comments.
All comments must be received by 12 August 2022.