Walsall Council intends to consolidate the heritage assets of the Council, which may include joining together diverse services of different Museums and Centres into a single Heritage Centre. This proposed development presents an exciting opportunity to bring together a number of offices and community resources under one roof.

The Local History Centre’s primary service is to provide the archives and local studies service to the Borough of Walsall and collect records relating to the history of Walsall. The Museum is a public gallery with a permanent display of the social and industrial history of the Borough, taken from the Council’s collections.

The Leather Museum is a popular, working museum located on the edge of the town centre adjacent to the ring road. The museum is within a restored leather factory built in 1891. It opened as a museum in 1988 with an ethos as a working museum where people are able to see and take part in making leather goods.

The Walsall Heritage Centre could provide a holistic experience with the ability to place together different collections, documents and artefacts in one location and to make all the heritage assets of the Borough available to the public in creative ways.

Design Quality Indicator (DQI) was employed, as the process for evaluating and improving the design and construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings. The briefing, including assessment of existing facility DQI assessment, focused on actively involving a wider group of stakeholders in the design of buildings than is usually the case. It involves not only the design team and constructors, but all those who will use the building, finance it, or be affected by it.

During the existing building assessments, participants discussed about the performance and functionality of the existing buildings and their likes and dislikes were mentioned.

At the Briefing stage workshop, the stakeholders debated and agree their aspirations for the project. The DQI Facilitator documented their consensus as to what the project should achieve in the form of a Briefing Record. This document contributes to the project design brief and becomes a benchmark against which to evaluate the design at later DQI Stage workshops.

Important issues such as good access to the building and access to public transport, the use and circulation of space, the enhancement of activities by the people who use the Centre regularly were discussed.

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