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Pringle Richards Sharratt wins £4m Stafford heritage centre

Stafford history centre
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Pringle Richards Sharratt (PRS) has won the competition for a £4 million heritage centre in Stafford

The south London-based practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist of rival teams to win the publically tendered £300,000 contract backed by Staffordshire County Council (SCC).

PRS’s winning project (pictured) will create a two-storey atrium linking the existing Staffordshire Record Office and the Grade II*-listed William Salt Library on Eastgate Street.

Commenting on the appointment, Gill Heath, SCC’s cabinet member for communities said: ‘We’re all very excited about the project and now with the architects and design teams on board we’re starting to put some detail together on the activity programme and design of the centre.

‘There’s real energy and enthusiasm amongst our partners and local history groups too which is great. The project team are busy behind the scenes planning and we hope to be able to share more detailed plans with the public in the autumn.’

The new facility will deliver an expanded archive for Staffordshire’s historic documents alongside an exhibition space, modern search rooms, a study area and a secure storage areas for 25 years of future collections.

The ground floor of the William Salt Library, which occupies an 18th-century town house, will be used for the heritage centre, while the upper floors will be let out to business start-ups and freelancers. A neighbouring cottage may also be converted for residential use. The project is planned to complete in 2020.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) refused an earlier funding bid for the project because it needed a ‘much better overall vision to demonstrate how the public could be encouraged to engage with the fantastic collection of archives more clearly’.

The HLF has awarded £333,400 for the development phase of the latest project with a second round funding bid due to submitted in March next year and construction work scheduled to start in April 2019.

 

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