Save Bexley Archives

On Tuesday 15 October 2013 a Bexley Council Public Cabinet Meeting was held at which a new financial plan was agreed. One of the 'potential service adjustments' put forward was to “provide a shared local studies and archives service run out of Bromley Central Library as part of the shared service library offer across the two boroughs”. The transfer of Bexley Archives to Bromley would have consequences for local history, for volunteering, for community projects, for future archive collecting and for education, and there are questions about how Bromley Council would operate a shared service. Full details of the Public Cabinet Meeting held on 15 October 2013 can be seen here.

The Council published this 'budget option' on its website and invited its residents to express their views in a survey. The consultation period ended on
18 December 2013. The final decision will be made in March 2014.

A campaign 'Save Bexley Archives' was set up to raise awareness of the proposal and make sure that people knew how to oppose it if they wished to do so, by writing to MPs, councillors and to the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Leisure, who
has responsibility for the library and archive service, Cllr Don Massey. A petition was set up (both online and written) and by the time it was submitted it had been signed by 3358 people. (Bexley Council officially recognises that petitions signed by over 2000 people have to be scheduled into a council meeting for debate).

There was a Bexley Council meeting on Wednesday 6 November 2013 at 7.30pm at the Civic Offices. Cllr Melvin Seymour and Cllr Margaret O'Neill asked for an update on the proposal to relocate the service following concerns expressed by local groups. A good crowd was in the public seats to display our interest. The agenda of the meeting is here
(see Item 7, question b) 4 and 14). A summary of what was said at the meeting plus comments is here.

On Saturday 16 November we gathered
at the Clock Tower, Broadway, Bexleyheath to collect signatures for the petition. More information can be seen here.

A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 18 December 2013 at 7.30pm
at the Civic Offices. Penny Duggan was on the agenda to speak about the Bexley Archives issue. A transcript of what she said can be seen here. Penny Duggan met with Cllr Don Massey on 8 January 2014 to discuss ways to achieve the Council's target saving while still keeping the service located within the borough. A press release on these discussions can be seen here.

The 'Save Bexley Archives' petition was presented by Penny Duggan at the meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 19 February 2014; the agenda can be seen here. The committee voted to reject the initial proposal to move the archives to Bromley and Cllr Don Massey announced that an amended proposal would be produced, as reported here. This revised proposal was incorporated into the final Budget Plans at the annual Budget Council Meeting on 24 February 2014. The revised proposal was to keep Bexley Archives in the borough while still achieving the required financial savings through staff changes.

Penny Duggan, David Gilham and Janet Hearn-Gilham after the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting
on 19 February 2014. [Image: Trevor Tamsett]

Please do join the Save Bexley Archives Facebook Group and follow Twitter @SaveBexArchives.

Bexley Historical Society member Sally Hawkes has written a poem about Bexley Council's proposal: A Bexley Blunder.

Please also see the publicity relating to the campaign.

For further information
please contact Penny Duggan, Secretary of Bexley Historical Society.