Northamptonshire County Council drop charging plans!
Aug 5, 2017 — Good news! Northants CC have announced that they are dropping their plans to charge on Tuesday to Thursday afternoons and Saturdays (see their statement below). This welcome news shows that our petition and feedback have been heard. It's a pity that the council didn't consult archive users before making such plans in the first place. We will hold them to their promise of a full and careful consultation next year. We will continue to remind them that they need to invest in archives (and archivists) properly, for now and for the future; and that access should be free for all.
Warmest thanks to everyone for signing and commenting, and for sharing this petition widely. It's wonderful that our voices have been heard, and that we've shown how important archives are for us all. Keep access free!
Mary Ann Lund
'Northamptonshire County Council has reviewed its decision to change opening hours at its archives and heritage service after listening to the views of its regular users and supporters.
The archives service will now be open for free access on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm and the first Saturday in each month, 9am to 1pm.
In light of financial pressures and reducing visitor numbers, there will be a review of the service ahead of the next financial year as part of the budget setting process and this will include a full consultation around any proposed changes.
In 2016, the service was visited by a total of 3,500 researchers, a drop of 50 per cent compared with 2006.
County council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage said: “Having listened to the views of our service users here in Northamptonshire and across the UK, a decision has been made to reconsider the proposed changes to opening hours.
“However, given our significant financial challenges, changes to customer behaviour and a growth in online enquiries, we need to consider how best to use our limited resources and will be reviewing the service in the coming months as part of the annual budget process.
“As part of this there will be a full public consultation in which service users will be able to provide their feedback ahead of any changes being implemented.”'