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Bexley historical archives will not be moved to Bromley, says council

PUBLISHED: 12:18 21 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 21 February 2014

Campaigners collect signatures against the council's proposal to move the Bexley archives to Bromley last year. Photo credit: Pip Pulfer

Campaigners collect signatures against the council's proposal to move the Bexley archives to Bromley last year. Photo credit: Pip Pulfer

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Bexley Council has completed a dramatic U-turn by announcing the borough's historical archives will not be moved to Bromley.

The transfer of the archives in the Central Library in Townley Road, Bexleyheath, to Bromley had been strongly considered to help cut costs.

But Cllr Don Massey, the cabinet member for community safety and leisure, told councillors on Wednesday he would pursue other avenues to reduce the council’s spending.

He said: “It is clear that many residents want to keep the Local Studies and Archives Service where it is. We have listened to them.

“Various options have been worked through and we can achieve this and make savings through staff changes.”

One resident who fought hard for the historical archives to remain in the borough was Penny Duggan, an editor, who volunteers at the library.

Ms Duggan gave a presentation to the environment and leisure overview and scrutiny committee this week about why the archives should stay in Bexley.

She said: “I am relieved that they are staying in Bexley. I am pleased the council were willing to compromise on what the residents wanted.”

Ms Duggan, of Sidcup, added she felt progress was made at a meeting with Cllr Massey in early January to discuss the issue.

A Twitter account (@SaveBexArchives) was also set up by Ms Duggan in October to canvass support for the archives to remain in the borough.

“The twitter profile helped me get in touch with people I would not have been able to access in other ways,” she explained.

The council estimates that it needs to find £40 million of savings over the next four years due to reductions in its government grant and increasing costs.

Cllr Massey’s revised proposal will be incorporated in the final budget plans that will be discussed by the council’s cabinet at its meeting on February 24 and the annual budget council meeting on March 5.

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