Senior Flintshire politicians asked to back plans for new £16m archive centre in Mold
Senior politicians in Flintshire are being asked to back plans which could see a new £16m archive centre created in Mold.
The state of the art facility would be built next to Theatr Clwyd and host records for both Flintshire and Denbighshire.
The county’s current archives are based at the Old Rectory in Hawarden, which could be sold if the proposals move ahead.
There has been some unrest regarding the project from councillors in Denbighshire as it would result in the closure of archives at Ruthin Gaol.
Members of Flintshire’s ruling cabinet are being asked to support investing £3m in the scheme, with £2m to come from the neighbouring authority.
If a bid for £11.5m worth of lottery funding proves successful then work is expected to start in 2022.
[Flintshire’s existing archive facilities in Hawarden]
In a report, Flintshire Council’s chief officer for education and youth, Claire Homard, said: “The ground-breaking feature of this project is the development of a new 21st century and environmentally friendly archive facility on the County Hall campus.
“(It will be) co-located with our nationally important producing theatre in a joint service arrangement with Denbighshire County Council who also have historically important collections and have been looking for similar solutions to protect and enhance their archive service.
“The proposal is to create a cultural hub for the region that is Wales and UK renowned for its building design, collection curation and enhanced offer to the public.
“Both Flintshire and Denbighshire County Councils are facing significant challenges in the accommodation where their archive collections are currently housed.
“There is a lack of sufficient and suitable storage facilities that meet statutory industry accreditation standards – Flintshire has already run out of storage space and Denbighshire will in the near future.
“This means that neither current facility can meet future demand.”
[Denbighshire County Councils Records Office is in Ruthin Gaol]
If lottery funding is not achieved, the council said an alternative solution will need to be found.
The selection of the Mold site follows an options appraisal being carried out across both counties.
The building would include storage facilities, a conservation studio, a digital lab, research rooms and exhibition spaces.
The proposals are expected to save Flintshire Council more than £11,000 in revenue costs per year.
According to the report, four members of staff will move over from Denbighshire to join Flintshire’s existing archive team.
Although no changes are proposed to staffing levels at present, Ms Homard did not rule out the possibility of a reduction in the future.
She said: “There are further potential revenue savings that could be achieved through the number of full time equivalent staff that Flintshire Council contributes to the joint service arrangement.
“Whilst no reductions are immediately planned this is a factor that will remain constantly under review as the service develops and is managed dynamically.
“By vacating the Old Rectory there is a potential opportunity for the council to generate a capital receipt from disposing of this site.”
The proposals will be considered by cabinet members at a meeting on Tuesday.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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