Move to close archives
Plans to close the county archives in Ruthin have been met with anger from community leaders.
Denbighshire’s archives are based in the town’s former gaol. They are used by people from across Wales to research history and their family trees.
But this could come to an end as Denbighshire and Flintshire move to merge their archives, with the service asking for the public’s views on the proposals.
This will see the Ruthin centre shut and a new home for them found in Mold.
The replacement building would be built in Mold next to Theatr Clwyd. It is set to cost £16.6 million, and work is expected to begin in 2022.
There has been consternation at the news in Ruthin with county and town councillors arguing the move would be a blow to the economy of their town.
Gavin Harris who runs the Manorhaus hotel, and is also the town’s mayor, said: “We get a lot of overnight guests coming to study their history. They have total praise for the staff, and also for the uniqueness of the archives building.
“A new build only accessible by car will do little for Mold and be a loss for Ruthin. The best way to counter this is to demonstrate that they could extend and create more space in Ruthin and bring it all together there. ”
Storage has been cited as one of the reasons for the merger, with Denbighshire County Council expected to run out of space at Ruthin gaol in two to three years’ time.
The council said: “The gaol does present many challenges. “The building incurs significant running costs and poses many operational challenges. The building also offers little scope for expansion on site.”
It added: “Options are currently being considered on alternative uses of Ruthin Gaol. Whatever the outcome, Ruthin Gaol will not close as a visitor attraction because of our project.”
Other Ruthin community leaders are not happy about the proposals.
Cllr Huw Hildtich-Roberts, who represents the town on Denbighshire County Council, said: “I urge people to respond to the consultation as I have many concerns about the impact to the town from this project. The service is currently positioned in the heart of Denbighshire and is very much valued. I will be seeking meetings with officers on what this will mean urgently.”
Town councillor, Anne Roberts, said: “It’s a shock, and it would be a real blow for Ruthin, researchers come from far and wide to the town, the impact would be felt, I have no doubt.”
By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter
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