Planning applications submitted as a new vision are progressed for the Cheshire Archives – 71Bait

An artist's rendering of the proposed history center in Crewe

November 21, 2022

Plans have been submitted for two new state-of-the-art history centers that would preserve Cheshire’s archives for future generations and bring the collections to a whole new audience.

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies – a joint service of Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Borough Councils – looks after the county’s unique and irreplaceable written and pictorial history and is moving forward with plans to house the collections in two new bespoke facilities.

The project, entitled ‘Cheshire’s archives: a story shared’, proposes an entirely new history center in Crewe – on the site of the city’s former library, adjacent to Memorial Square – and a new history center in Hoole, Chester, to replace the archives the current setup of the service, which is no longer fit for purpose.

Planning applications for both centers have now been submitted, along with plans to redevelop the civic and cultural space between the Lifestyle Center and Memorial Square in Crewe, which would deliver the first phase of a new high-quality public space in the city centre.

Cllr Jill RhodesCouncilor Jill Rhodes, Head of Archives at Cheshire East Council, said: “The Cheshire Archives document the history of the county over the past 900 years and it is excellent news that we are moving forward with our joint plans to relocate the collections to facilities that would allow this to meet current standards to ensure their long-term preservation.

“We also want to transform the way the Archives Service works, giving local people better access to the collections and opportunities to interact with them more easily – and help them celebrate their personal and community history.

“In Crewe itself, the history center would help the town celebrate its heritage and support the goals of Crewe’s cultural strategy, as well as continue the work being done to give people more reasons to come to the town more often.

“I would encourage anyone interested in the county archives or the ongoing Crewe renewal to look at the plans and submit their comments on these applications.”

Plans for the history centers, which would have air-conditioned environments, include large event and gallery spaces for performances, workshops, and exhibitions, more rooms for research, and better spaces for staff and volunteers to work with the collections to make them more accessible make.

Work to date has been funded by Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Another grant application to support the project was submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in August and a decision on this is expected by the end of the year.

The proposal to revitalize Crewe’s civic and cultural space is part of a package of projects following Cheshire East Council’s successful bid for the Government’s £14.1m Future High Streets Fund town funds.

The plans include new planting, lighting and seating, as well as clearing the site of Crewe’s former library and the structure over the existing Civic Center car park, which would then provide the vacant site needed for the new development.

A new multi-storey car park and a new two-story entrance to the Magistrates’ Courts are also planned.

Cllr Nick Mannion - Macclesfield West and IvyCouncilor Nick Mannion, Chair of Cheshire East Council’s Business and Growth Committee, said: “This project would create the first part of a new and attractive pedestrian link through the city center’s cultural and civic precinct, transforming a space that has historically attracted anti-social behaviour .

“Completion of a second and final phase of public space work adjacent to the proposed history center is scheduled to occur after the center is built and would include quality paving and planting areas, activity areas, new seating, bike racks and public art.”

The second phase is also supported by the government’s Towns Fund. For more information and to see the plans for the Crewe History Center visit the Council Planning Portal and look for reference number 22/4451N.

The application number for the urban and cultural renewal project is 22/4472N.

To see the plans for the Chester History Center visit the Cheshire West and Chester Council website and look for reference number 22/04233/FUL

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