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Lowestoft Record Office decision-making process to be debated

PUBLISHED: 14:54 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:54 23 November 2018

Lowestoft library and record office. Picture: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft library and record office. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Two town councils have expressed concerns over the removal of historic archives from Lowestoft Record Office and changes to the service.

It comes as the Lowestoft Record Office decision-making process is debated at a meeting of Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee at Riverside, in Lowestoft, next Thursday, November 29.

With members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) group in Lowestoft campaigning against the transfer of the archives from the record office to the £20m heritage centre in Ipswich called The Hold, the campaigners have also ran its own independent community consultation document.

Earlier this month, Suffolk County Council’s online consultation concluded, and Paul West, Suffolk’s cabinet member with responsibility for Heritage, said: “The feedback received is already helping us shape the future of the service in Lowestoft.”

The consultation received strong reaction from Beccles Town Council, who “unanimously decided that as the document does not consult on the issues that the council is concerned about it will not be responding to the questions within the consultation.”

Similar sentiments were shared by Lowestoft Town Council, who said: “We consider that plans for changes in managing the record office service have been rolled out without due regard to the importance of the heritage of Lowestoft, with the danger of causing a great disservice to the existing population and future generations.

“The council wishes to place on record that it does not consider that it has been actively and meaningfully engaged with, before or as part of, this consultation process and strongly objects to any statements made to the contrary.”

Chairman of the SORO group, Bob Collis, said: “Considering this Ipswich-based HLF-funded project is supposed to have county-wide benefits, it has thus far only succeeded in stirring up a hornet’s nest of anger and resentment in north east Suffolk.”

Cllr West said: “We want to see a thriving archive service for north east Suffolk, with a focus on reaching new audiences.

“Our aim is to secure the long term future of our precious archives and heritage, but we recognise the importance of keeping the most well-used collections locally available.

“We are working with senior archivists to help achieve this and we are pleased that a staffed Record Office service will continue to operate from the library building in Lowestoft.”

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