Council leader moves to reassure community about future of records office
PUBLISHED: 17:42 09 June 2018
Leader of Suffolk County Council Matthew Hicks was unable to confirm the future of the Lowestoft Records Office but promised plans would be put in place to keep a facility in the town.
Concerns over a lack of funding for a new facility have been raised by campaign groups and councillors, but Mr Hicks said despite there being no money, plans will be put in place to explore the council’s options.
Mr Hicks was in Lowestoft on Friday as part of the council’s We Are Listening events which are happening across the county.
He said: “The way we are going to take it forward is that we are going to work with the community.
“The message is very clear from the residents of Lowestoft about where they feel the records office should be.
“There is no money but there are lots of projects that often don’t have money but we do have the ability to apply for funding and to look for external funding to bring that in.
“We need to do that on this project because we don’t at the moment have any spare capital funds to pay for any sort of project.”
He added: “There are lots of external bodies you can go to, we know, for example, at The Hold in Ipswich the Heritage Lottery plays a big part of that, but there are other funding mechanisms.
“We may find the district may want to be part of that process but it is too early a stage to say the funding will come from here or here.
“Let’s look at the project, reach a solution, agree what is best for the community and best Lowestoft and the wider area, and then we can come up with a plan of how we can look to fund it.”
Mr Hicks couldn’t make any guarantees over what would happen if plans to replace the records office don’t progress before the closure date of next year.
He said: “I don’t know where we will be in a year’s time but I am aware of the concerns around closing on that date so it is something that we will have to look at as we move this project forward.
“I think it is more about what we can do - keeping the items safe and in a good state, where that is I don’t know today, I can’t tell you that.
“It is something I am aware that people are concerned about that and it is something that has been flagged up to me and we will discuss that and look at what we can do.”
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