The Friary building which currently houses Lichfield Library. Pic: Elliott Brown

A group has branded a consultation over the future of the Lichfield Record Office as “a shambles”.

Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association (BSARA) chairman Bob Smith has written to Staffordshire County Council over what he claims are ‘logistical’ issues with how the process has been handled.

Lichfield Record Office. Pic: Elliott Brown
Lichfield Record Office. Pic: Elliott Brown

The authority has announced it will hold a series of events to outline new plans – which could see the city’s record office closed – including one in Lichfield.

There is also an online survey running from June 19 until August 14.

But in a letter to Staffordshire County Council Cabinet member Ben Adams, Mr Smith said there were a number of issues with the process – including a refusal to allow his organisation access to a workshop event.

“Display boards were not ready, staff were not properly briefed, important material was either missing or difficult to locate on the website and feedback was supposed to be provided by a poorly-designed online questionnaire or by leaving post-it notes on the display board,” he said.

“In short, it was a shambles.

“I hope that as the accountable Cabinet member you will take steps to prevent a recurrence of these problems?”

Mr Smith revealed that he had previously been assured that BSARA would be encouraged to play a part in developing the vision for the future of the county’s archives.

He added: “When I tried to secure an invitation to the Lichfield stakeholder workshop, we were informed that attendance was by invitation only and that numbers were being restricted.”

Cllr Ben Adams
Cllr Ben Adams

But Cllr Adams insisted that the county council had been working with communities to find the best solution to modernising the archives service.

“Over the past few years we have been working closely with different groups looking at how we can make sure we have a modern service, that’s fit for the future and gives people the best access to the records as possible,” he said.

“We are seeing many more people accessing family history records online and this is one of the areas we want to develop along with taking the service out and involving our local communities more.

“We now want to hear what people think of the plans to deliver the new vision so I would encourage anyone with an interest in family history to go along to one of the public events or have their say on the website.”

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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9 years ago

Aren’t there two questions to be answered here? The public records are important and need to be preserved, yet made accessible for future generations.

What happens to the building? Isn’t this the last remaining structure of the old Franciscan Friary?

Rev Jeff Fry
9 years ago

Hello, I am a part of local Lichfield residents association (LARA – Leomansley Area) and on the Exec Committee and as far as I now we have not been notified of this consultation formally yet we are a public group known to SCC in other areas. We have a public website as well so we are not hard to find (simplle google search on Liichfield resiidents association would do it). Just wondering why we haven’t been informed as the Cllr referred to “public events” (what events, when , where?) which seem to be closed or by invite only and then he refers to a website (what website)?? When I click on the online survey link above it fails saying “webpage not found”. This does not seem like good consultation to me let alone fair consultatiion. Well done to Bob Smith and BSARA for pointing this out