A move to switch records and archives from Lichfield to Stafford has moved a step closer after initial funding was granted for a new county history centre.
The proposal would see documents held in the city and the William Salt Library in Stafford moved to the new facility.
The plans can now be fully developed after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) approved an initial payment of £333,400. Staffordshire County Council says it will apply for the full grant of £3,965,600 for the project at a later date.
A new family history centre with access to digital records is expected to be created in Lichfield to replace the current record office.
Gill Heath, Cabinet member responsible for the archives service at Staffordshire County Council said: “This is fantastic news.
“The new Staffordshire History Centre, with more accessible facilities along with plans to take more activities out into local communities, will give us a much more modern and sustainable service for the future.
“We want to reach out to more people and let them use and enjoy the records, and our new-look service developed with local history groups and the public will help us do this.
“At the same time we will continue get more records available online through findmypast to ensure anyone who has an interest in history can access information at the touch of a button.”
The council says the new centre in Stafford will also feature a community exhibition space, modern search rooms and strong rooms to provide storage for an additional 25 years of future collections.