New Suffolk County Council leader says archives to remain in north Suffolk amid Lowestoft Record Office closure row
PUBLISHED: 19:13 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 07:53 25 May 2018
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Fresh hope has emerged for the future of Lowestoft Record Office, after new county council leader Matthew Hicks vowed to keep records in north Suffolk.
The Save Our Record Office (SORO) group presented a petition at Thursday’s Suffolk County Council meeting calling for proposals to close the Lowestoft archive to be scrapped as well as those to move records to the new Hold office set to be built in Ipswich.
The petition presented featured 7,395 signatures in support of stopping the archive closure, and calling for a full public consultation.
Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council leader said: “I acknowledge the concerns raised by the local residents, groups, town, parish and district councils, and we have agreed to formally consult on the future.
“We want to work with East Suffolk councils, Lowestoft Town Council, to develop a business project for a fully funded and sustainable facility for Lowestoft.”
Trudie Jackson, who presented the petition said that those who had signed the petition felt “disregarded and disrespected” over the lack of communication with locals.
She added that those reliant on public transport would face an eight-hour round trip from Lowestoft to Ipswich to access the records.
The campaign has also attracted the support of high profile backers including Time Team presenter Tony Robinson.
Mandy Gaylard from the county council’s Labour group said it was about “providing people with their heritage and much more besides”.
Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, local councillor for the Green Party added that cuts to the town’s magistrates court, two GP surgeries, tourist information centre and some bus routes meant the plans were the “final nail” and if it went ahead would create an “economic and cultural divide across Suffolk we will never recover from.”
Bob Collis from the Save Our Record Office group, said: “The public protest petition being submitted today gives some idea of the anger and resentment felt by the people of Lowestoft and Waveney.”
He cited support from Lowestoft Town Council and Waveney MP Peter Aldous who Mr Collis said was “not only against the closure but vigorously contested some of the flood hazard dangers cited by Suffolk County Council”.