MP welcomes meeting with councillors and SORO campaigners as record office changes are put on hold
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Waveney MP Peter Aldous has welcomed the news that county councillors have agreed to halt plans for changes to Lowestoft record office.
It comes following the formation of the campaign group SORO - Save Our Record Office - which is fighting against Suffolk County Council's decision to replace the record office based at Lowestoft Library with an unmanned access point by the end of 2019. The decision would also see the documents currently stored there moved down to Ipswich.
However last week, with a petition against the changes attracting more than 2,300 signatures, the county council agreed to meet with SORO members and Mr Aldous to discuss the options before any action is taken.
Mr Aldous said: 'I welcome the news that Suffolk County Council are to halt the current plans for the Lowestoft Records Office and instead meet with local groups to hear their views about future arrangements. I am happy to work with the county council and the local interest groups to see that what is created for the future, offers all of the accessibility that these important records deserve and that we have a thriving records office in Waveney.'
The SORO committee, led by founders Trudie Jackson and Janis Kirby, have agreed to the meeting subject to conditions, which include it being held in Lowestoft at a neutral venue and chaired by Mr Aldous.
Mrs Jackson said: 'We are pleased to get this news because it shows we are being listened to.
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'We've lost so much in Lowestoft and we need to get back in touch with our roots but we can't do that if our roots are being taken down to Ipswich.'
In a statement released earlier this month, the council said the record office had seen a decline in visitors in the last few years and needed to be condensed in line with its objectives to fill a budget gap of £56m by 2021.
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However Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for health, said they have decided to halt plans while a meeting with interested parties is arranged.
Anyone wishing to sign the petition online can visit www.change.org/p/tony-goldson-save-our-record-office.
Hard copies of the petition are also available at the Lowestoft Journal office, 147 London Road North, Flint House Restaurant in High Street, The Coconut Loft in Waterloo Road and Beccles Books in Exchange Square, Beccles.
To keep up to date on the campaign, follow the Save Our Record Office Facebook page or firstname.lastname@example.org