Commenting on Suffolk County Council’s update on the forthcoming consultation on the development of the archive service for Lowestoft and north-east Suffolk, Waveney MP, Peter Aldous commented:-
“I welcome Suffolk County Council’s undertaking to staff a future Lowestoft Record Office, to engage a new Community and Learning Officer to promote the Record Office in the local community and to put on events, exhibitions and activities. However I’m extremely disappointed that the Council plan to proceed with moving vulnerable collections to the new Hold in Ipswich.
“In January of this year I first became aware of the Council’s plans to close Lowestoft Record Office. Having considered carefully the many representations that I received from constituents and a variety of organisations, I concluded that the Record Office in its entirety should remain in the Lowestoft area and I wrote to Suffolk County Council setting out my views.
“Subsequently the County Council held pre-consultation workshops in April, one of which I attended. I reached the conclusion that the best way forward was for the Record Office to remain in the Library on one refurbished floor and I held meetings with both Suffolk Libraries and the County Council to promote this proposal.
“Suffolk County Council have now advised me that they will not be consulting on an alternative storage for Lowestoft’s vulnerable records because they do not consider it to be viable.
“I take the view that the County Council have badly let down the people of Lowestoft and Waveney and I find it extraordinary that no one locally was aware of these plans until early 2018. I do have to question whether the process whereby Suffolk County Council secured funding for the Hold in Ipswich was sound and I believe that this must be scrutinised as a matter of urgency. I shall be writing to the County Council setting out my concerns.
“The nature of town centres today is that they are under considerable pressure and in the next few years they will need to reinvent themselves in order to be attractive destinations for leisure, educational, cultural and tourism activities, as well as traditional shopping. I see a refurbished Record Office as an important component part of a revitalised Lowestoft and I shall continue to prepare the case and campaign for this, responding to Suffolk County Council’s consultation accordingly. I urge all other interested parties to do the same.”