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Petition launched to stop cuts at Flintshire Record Office, Hawarden

A PETITION has been handed to Flintshire County Council in a bid to fight proposed changes to the running of Hawarden record office.

The authority has put forward plans to reduce its public access time to four days a week, which would involve a loss of staff.

The move comes as the council tries to save £10-13m in the next financial year.

Hawarden councillor Clive Carver presented the petition of 300 names to a special meeting of Flintshire County Council on Thursday.

He said: “I urge the council to think carefully before imposing any cuts which would affect opening hours and the archive service.”

The Rectory Drive office – which contains records about former Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and information about former Second World War munitions factory Rhydymwyn Valley Works – is of interest to historians from across the world.

“The record office is a valuable resource,” added Cllr Carver. “The historians who use this unique facility are not just from Flintshire and the surrounding area, but come from much further afield.

“I have been told that historians regularly book reading tables for a whole week and then fly here from the USA to carry out research.”

An extract from the council’s 2009-10 annual report described the archive as a ‘jewel to be maintained at all costs’.

It added: “The staff are so courteous and knowledgeable. The care taken here to maintain documents is A1. The place exudes a relaxed friendly environment to study. It would be hard to improve.”

Cllr Carver said: “It is vital we don’t reduce public access.

“The historians that come here from further afield contribute greatly to the local economy as they stay in local B&Bs and eat in local restaurants. We don’t want to jeopardise that.

“I will be backing this petition all the way and will monitor the situation.”

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