Agenda item

Staffordshire History Centre Project

Joint report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities (Staffordshire County Council) and Director of Housing and Community Services (Stoke-on-Trent City Council)


The Committee considered a joint report by the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Housing and Communities (Staffordshire County Council) and Director of Families and Community Services (Stoke-on-Trent City Council) updating them on the development of the Staffordshire History Centre Project.


The Archive and Heritage Service had submitted a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) on 8 May 2019 for Phase One grant funding towards the development of a Staffordshire History Centre comprising (i) accommodation for records; (ii) new community exhibition space and; (iii) modern search rooms and strong rooms to provide storage for an additional 25 years of future collections.


Following consideration by the NLHF, the Service was notified on 4 September 2019 that they had been awarded a grant of £36,000 which could be used towards the following, approved, purposes:-


·       High visibility acknowledgement of the NLHF and lottery players on site, online and in all other activities;

·       Proactive measures to promote inclusiveness, remove barriers to access and reach new and diverse audiences through the delivery of this project;

·       A review of the building design works;

·       Hosting pilot sessions with schools, universities and colleges to test learning material;

·       Finalising the lease, land transfer and Partnership Agreement and;

·       Increasing existing staff hours to enable cataloguing of William Salt Library Collections and re-package for future removal. 


A start-up meeting between the Project Team and representatives of NLHF was held on 21 October 2019 at which the Team received positive feedback. In addition, they were provided with advice and guidance on completion of the necessary work which was due to commence at the end of November 2019. Further advice and support was to be provided by an external consultant.


Members noted that during this Phase the various Plans produced in support of the previous bid would be reviewed and refreshed and further efforts made to secure additional match funding. They also noted the costs for the Development Phase were as follows:-


Cost Element













Total (Phase One)


Grant Award


Match Funding (from General Reserve)



During her presentation of the report, the Deputy Chief Executive highlighted that there were no major changes proposed to the design of the building. Also, Dr. Alix Slator of Alix Slater Consultancy and Training had been appointed to provide mentoring services in support of the project and initial meetings with him had been helpful. She re-iterated that further efforts would be made to seek additional match funding so that the total grant request during Phase Two could be minimised.


With regard to the timetable set out in the report, the Deputy Chief Executive clarified that Permission to Start had been completed in November 2019 and not 2020 as stated. Whilst every effort would be made to ensure the success of the Project, in the event the Staffordshire History Centre failed to attract Phase Two funding, contingency plans had been developed in order to provide some resilience.


RESOLVED – That the report be received and noted.

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