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Safeguarding archives is the priority says Suffolk County Council, as talks begin on Lowestoft Record Office future

PUBLISHED: 11:27 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:33 05 March 2018

The future of Lowestoft Record Office is being discussed. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The future of Lowestoft Record Office is being discussed. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

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Suffolk County Council has said that its priority is to make sure the county’s archives are safeguarded, ahead of a consultation over the future of Lowestoft Record Office.

A public consultation over the future of Lowestoft record Office will begin this spring. Picture: NICK BUTCHER A public consultation over the future of Lowestoft record Office will begin this spring. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The local authority last week announced a public consultation launches in late spring, in which draft proposals and alternative solutions to the current provision takes place.

The current record office in Clapham Road South is not considered to be sustainable because its basement is prone to flooding and damp hazards, mould growth and fire resistance is not up to the current standard.

Ahead of the consultation, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, Tony Goldson, said the safeguarding of archives was the key concern.

“We have listened to concerns raised by local residents and as a result we will be formally consulting on the future of the record office service in Lowestoft,” he said.

“We will be meeting with local historians and interested parties over the coming weeks to form proposals for the future of the service, with the view of the formal consultation beginning late spring.

“Our priority remains the safeguarding and preservation of Suffolk’s archives in the best possible conditions for the use of current and future generations.”

Discussions are already underway with locals such as historians, depositors and owners of records, and countywide heritage groups among others.

Among the key questions being discussed are what records should be prioritised for digitisation, where the future service will be based, and how vulnerable original archives are to be sufficiently protected.

A campaign called Save Our Record Office (SORO) has gained more than 5,000 signatures on its petition to protect the service.

It was formed following January’s announcement that the record office at Lowestoft Library would be replaced with an unmanned access point by the end of next year.

The county council said early discussions have already taken place with the Port of Lowestoft Research Society and Beccles Town Council over specific questions over their records.

Stakeholder discussions take place this month with a late spring date for the public.

Visit www.suffolkarchives.co.uk to find out more.

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