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'They're not listening': Town record office defenders protests as council visit high street

PUBLISHED: 11:31 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:40 16 September 2019

Campaigners from the Save Our Record Office (Soro) Group, staging a protest by Suffolk County Council's Marquee. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Campaigners from the Save Our Record Office (Soro) Group, staging a protest by Suffolk County Council's Marquee. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Archant

With the launch of the Lowestoft heritage open day festival, campaigners from the Save Our Record Office group protested a council's visit.

Suffolk County Council representatives were on London Road North to speak with members of the public about the Third Crossing Photo: Matthew NixonSuffolk County Council representatives were on London Road North to speak with members of the public about the Third Crossing Photo: Matthew Nixon

The group, known as SORO, have been campaigning against a decision made by Suffolk County Council to move historic archives from the Lowestoft Record Office to Ipswich.

Also marking the start of the heritage festival, Suffolk County Council brought several representatives and councillors to the town for a 'we are listening' event which had a special focus on the long awaited third crossing.

Andy Pearce, secretary of SORO, said: "We find it grossly insulting that Suffolk County Council chose this day to bring their 'we are listening' roadshow to town, on the opening of the heritage festival, when they have done so much to destroy heritage in this town.

"We've been completely ignored by the council, and yet they come here and claim they are listening.

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"The implication of moving the record office is manifold. Very little in that office has been digitised and very little will be.

"If those records go down to Ipswich, they will be out of reach to anyone in the community whose heritage they represent. It's two hours on the train and a £20 fund."

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: "We need to keep discussing this and we need to understand concerns. It is about us listening.

"For example, we have asked that the new record office can be managed - it will now be manned when before it may not have necessarily been."

Paul West, the council's cabinet member responsible for Heritage, said: "We have worked closely with senior archivists to identify all material which can continue to safely be housed in Lowestoft, meaning that many of the most well-used collections can be continue to be accessed in Lowestoft."

Council leader Mr Hicks added: "This event was also about the third crossing. It's a top priority for us to get this delivered, it's much needed and key for regeneration in Lowestoft. The Secretary of State has until December to make his decision, but there are no real objections. It will be delivered."

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