The new building is needed because the existing archive and record space is overflowing. The records office is underneath Old County Hall in Truro and is bursting at the seams. Thousands of items are having to be stored off-site at cost to the Council. The proposal is also to accommodate the Cornish Studies library - currently in Redruth - in the new building.
I have no preconceptions about where the new building should go. It clearly needs to be on a large site because of the space needed and I have made the point that we should be looking at innovative ideas for how to build and pay for the new facility.
Today we were told of the various criteria that will be used to judge sites and that local town and parish councils are to be asked to put sites forward. My concern is that some of the criteria effectively rule out North Cornwall as a venue.
One of the criteria in the briefing we were given states:
"Is the proposed site easily accessible via car and public transport across Cornwall?"
Obviously accessibility is important, but if this is the question then the answer for every part of Cornwall is effectively going to be 'No' because there is no part of Cornwall which is easily accessible by public transport from all across Cornwall, and the situation is getting worse as more and more bus routes are being cut by the Conservative-led authority. However the interpretation of many in County Hall is that this rule will exclude with likes of North Cornwall and others areas without rail or decent bus networks.
What the Council should be doing is to build into the development a plan of how to make the facility genuinely accessible to all. If the best possible location is Redruth (or Truro, or St Austell) then so be it, but those of us who live in North Cornwall should not be prevented from using it by reason of diminishing bus routes. Alternatively, if a perfect site could be found in Launceston, Bodmin (or Liskeard) then the Council should be finding ways of expanding our public transport network to make sure that everyone from the West can get there too.
We'll see over the next couple of months just how firm the commitment to consider all areas is.