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Campaign group brands council ban of protester “grossly unfair”

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 September 2018

Members of the Save Our Record Office group. Picture: Save Our Record Office

Members of the Save Our Record Office group. Picture: Save Our Record Office

Archant

A campaign group has hit back against Suffolk County Council after one of their members was banned by the council.

Save Our Record Office, which was set up in an attempt to stop the closure of the Lowestoft Record Office which was announced earlier this year, said the move to stop responding to emails from Andrew Pearce was “grossly unfair”.

In an email sent to Mr Pearce by Suffolk County Council’s monitoring officer, Tim Ryder, he wrote: “The council will not enter into any further correspondence with you, having applied the policies for dealing with unreasonable complainant behaviour and unreasonably persistent complainants. You will simply receive an acknowledgement of receipt.”

Chairman of the group, Bob Collis, said: “The main point arising from this is that research carried out by members of this group has highlighted a number of apparently unconstitutional actions which appear to have been carried out by various elements of Suffolk County Council, both by elected and unelected officials.”

He added: “It has been the continued refusal by Suffolk County Council to accept or even to agree to investigate these matters which has resulted in the current situation. First they have ignored the emails.

“Then they have denied that any errors have been made and finally they have resorted to trying to gag the complainant(s) rather than instigate a proper investigation which leaves the complainant with no option other than to ‘go public’ with what has been discovered.

“It is the considered opinion of this group that the only ‘threats’ which have been made have been to expose the appalling behaviour of the councillors and council officials who have been involved in this unhappy process.”

Suffolk County Council acknowledged formal complaints to the council are being considered and highlighted multiple examples of where they believed Mr Pearce had gone beyond reasonable complainant behaviour which Mr Ryder described in his email as “beyond what is acceptable”, “personally abusive”, or “simply incorrect”.

Examples included Mr Pearce talking about the “arrogance” of cabinet members and saying The Hold, the £20m archive project to be built in Ipswich, was being built on “A foundation of lies, dishonesty and other ethical misconduct.”

As it stands, Lowestoft Record Office is due to stay open with archives to stay on open shelving, with any archives requiring a strong room to be moved to Ipswich.

A public consultation on the future of the record office is to take place in the coming months, with a joint scrutiny group with Suffolk County and Waveney District to examine the process taking place after the consultation.

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