HALTON residents are being asked to help decide on a future location for the county’s archives and local studies service.

The archives are currently held in a the Cheshire Record Office, a former warehouse in Duke Street, Chester, where anyone is welcome to visit.

Archives date from the 12th to the 21st century and range from medieval deeds to digital photographs from the 21st century. There are 710 cubic metres of archives, plus tens of thousands of books, maps and photographs.

Storage space in the record office is so limited that the building cannot accommodate all the archives in its care, let alone provide the required expansion space for the next 20 years.

Environmental conditions do not meet current standards and the record office is no longer considered fit for purpose by the National Archives as home for one of Britain’s finest collections of historical records.

Consequently, the service is currently considering alternative locations at Chester, Ellesmere Port, Winsford, Northwich, Crewe and Middlewich.

Around 5,000 people visit the record office in Chester each year; more than 3,000 attend its outreach events and activities annually; and around a million visit its websites each year.

The consultation will run until June 30, this year and those who wish to comment are invited to do so online at archives.cheshire.gov.uk/