Teresa has contacted the London Borough of Bexley to register her opposition to the Council’s proposal to move the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre out of the Borough to Bromley.
This plan forms part of a package of money-saving proposals developed by the Council, which are currently the subject of a public consultation, and which aim to address an estimated £10 million funding gap the authority will face next year. If these plans go ahead, the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre will be moved from its current location in the Central Library, Bexleyheath to Bromley Central Library under a shared service arrangement.
In her recent letter to the London Borough of Bexley, Teresa wrote:
“The Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre is a crucial part of our local heritage, and should be maintained for future generations. An understanding of shared history acts as bonding glue to strengthen communities, keeping people together, and fostering a sense of local pride. I am concerned that moving this important local resource out of the Borough is going to deny young people the opportunity to learn about their local history.
Whilst I appreciate that Bexley Council does have to navigate budget constraints, and that it is anticipated £41,000 will be saved by this move, I think that this pales in comparison with the cost of the loss of the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre to the local community. If this information is no longer accessible locally it will be much harder for school pupils and those with a general interest in the past to learn about changes that have taken place across their home Borough. They will not be able to easily learn how local people united in the past to collectively overcome challenges facing the community, information that would be pertinent and heartening in the current climate.
Next year marks the centenary of the start of the First World War, a time when schools across the country will be using local resources to teach children about the impact the War had on their local communities. If the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre is moved to Bromley then it will be much harder for school pupils to learn about the effect the War had on the local area, and to identify with the struggles that faced those who are named on our local War Memorials (many of whom may be their ancestors).”
Commenting further on this plan, Teresa said:
“Bexley is the natural home for the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre, and it will be a sad day when local residents will no longer be able to access this resource within the Borough. I hope that the Council will take note of the widespread opposition to this plan, and will reconsider it after the public consultation has closed.
I have been impressed by the dedication displayed by many local people, who have taken positive action to try and stop this proposal from becoming a reality. I would encourage anyone who feels the same way to join the Facebook Group, Save Bexley Archives, and also to sign the online petition. I would also urge residents to take some time to respond to the public consultation to indicate their disapproval of these plans.
If the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre teaches us anything it is that, in hard times, we can come together as a community in Bexley to fight for a common cause, and we must now work together to save our local history for our local people. Bexley Council should maintain the Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre in the Central Library, Bexleyheath for many years to come. It is a local resource for local people and should be protected as our local legacy for future generations.”
The public consultation is open until Wednesday 18th December 2013. Anyone who wishes to register their comments about these plans can do so by following a survey on the London Borough of Bexley’s website.