Campaign group issues ‘very clear’ message to county council
PUBLISHED: 16:42 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 22 November 2018
“Hands off our archives!”
That was the message being sent to Suffolk County Council (SCC) by members of the Save Our Record Office (SORO) campaign group in Lowestoft.
The group – which was set up in an attempt to stop the possible closure of Lowestoft Record Office – is campaigning to prevent the county council from transferring archives to the £20m heritage centre in Ipswich called The Hold.
And on Saturday, afternoon shoppers looked on as the town’s library was ringed with paper hands – with colourful characters, some dressed as pirates, encircling the building with a very clear message for the county council: “Hands off our archives!”
The ‘hands off’ campaign was the final day of public engagement events held by the SORO group to promote their own independent public consultation document on the future of Lowestoft Record Office, which has been running parallel with the council’s.
Carole Byatt said: “We could have started a whole new petition, as people are still very angry that SCC are removing the archives and putting the staff out of work.”
Group chairman Bob Collis added: “The costumes might be light-hearted but the message to SCC from SORO and the people of Waveney is very clear.
“If the removal of our local archives to Ipswich goes ahead, no one in this area is ever going to entrust you or the Suffolk Record Office Management team with any archival material again.”
Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Heritage, said: “I would like to thank those who took part in the Suffolk County Council consultation which closed on November 1.
“The feedback received will help to shape the future of the service in Lowestoft.
“A staffed Record Office service will continue to operate from the library building in Lowestoft and we are working closely with senior archivists to keep many of the most well-used collections in Lowestoft.
“We want to see a thriving archive service for north-east Suffolk, in which new audiences are engaged.
“We are keen that the service reflects the way that people would like to access information and provides exciting new events and learning opportunities.”
The SCC scrutiny meeting takes place at Riverside next Thursday, November 29.