Local councillor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw has urged Suffolk County Council to reconsider their decision to close the Lowestoft Records Office.
Members of the Save Our Records Office (SORO) campaign group presented two petitions to councillors at the AGM of Suffolk County Council on Thursday 24 May 2018. The petitions have gathered over 7000 signatures in total, and call on the authority to reverse the planned closure of Lowestoft Records Office due to a lack of public consultation.
Speaking in support of the petition, Cllr Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw commented:
“Lowestoft residents have lost many services in the last few years, including their hospital, significant bus routes, police and PCSO patrols, two doctors surgeries, mobile youth van, tourist information and their magistrates court.
The records office is the final nail in the coffin.
A focus on Ipswich without consideration of the north of the county will create an economic and cultural divide across Suffolk that we will not recover from.
I have had correspondence from numerous stakeholders, including Beccles Town Council, Beccles and District Museum, Beccles Historical Society, Beccles Society, Bungay Society, The Bungay Museum and the two Lowestoft based SORO campaign groups. Despite all having significant records in Lowestoft Records Office, they found out about the closure decision by reading the local press. At no point were they contacted by Suffolk County Council.
That is simply not acceptable – no wonder residents in and around Lowestoft feel they have been abandoned by this council.”
Cllr Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw also questioned why Suffolk County Council had not explored opportunities to invest in improvements to the building in which the Lowestoft Records Office is housed:
“We know that the Hold project in Ipswich will run out of space for new archives in 20 years. Why have we not planned for a sister project in Lowestoft? Residents in the north of our county deserve the same high standard of services as those experienced in the south.
The documents held by Lowestoft Records Office were freely donated for safekeeping by local residents, who believed this would preserve their heritage for future generations. To be told they must now travel to Ipswich if they want access to their heritage is outrageous. The elderly, disabled and those without access to transport will not be able to benefit from the new facilities at the Hold in Ipswich.”