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Petitioning Bexley Council

Don't move Bexley Local Studies and Archives out of Bexley

Bexley Council is proposing to move the Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre from its current location in Bexleyheath to outside the borough at Central Library Bromley.

The Centre is a much-used and treasured collection that opens up local and family history to all Bexley residents. It contains the books and archival material that tell the story of the borough's past.

But as part of a cost-cutting exercise, the council is considering moving this important service out of the borough. We call on Bexley Council to keep the Local Studies and Archive Centre at its current location in Central Library, Bexelyheath.

It makes no sense to move a local service, which is so integral to maintaining a sense of local identity and of local history, outside of the local area.

The council claims the move will save up to £41,000 in 2014/2015. This is less than 0.05% of the total savings Bexley hopes to make, a veritable drop in the ocean. Moreover, these savings are far from certain: there are likely to be costs associated with physically moving the material, and the long-term costs of any charges made by Bromley for the shared service are likely to provide poor value for money.

In comparison to this miniscule savings, the cost to Bexley will be great. Local studies plays an important role in the education of school children and this would be lost to future generations. Adults would lose the current annual programme of talks, walks and workshops. The volunteers who do so much to catalogue, transcribe, and interpret the collection may not be able to travel to Bromley and so the collection would suffer. There is also a serious concern that the severing of the local connection will make organisations and individuals less likely to donate materials in the future, with the result being the collection slowly withering away. And most importantly, the collection will become far less accessible to those it is for: local people, who want to develop and enhance their local identity by learning more about local history.

There are so many reasons for the council to maintain this service, and so few to move it.

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