Enfield Local Studies Library and Archive is moving to Enfield Civic Centre despite concerns, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
A local studies archive containing information on Enfield’s history will be moved into the same building as the council’s head offices.
Councillors confirmed Enfield Local Studies Library and Archive will be relocated to the ground floor of the civic centre in Silver Street, Enfield Town. It is currently based on the first floor of the Dugdale Centre at Thomas Hardy House.
The council made the decision, which was confirmed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, was made in order to make space at Thomas Hardy House for its children and family services staff.
Cabinet member for finance and procurement Mary Maguire told the meeting: “There have been a lot of questions about the local studies and archive that is currently located at Thomas Hardy House.
“That will now be relocated to the civic centre, and plans for the reception area, ground floor, will underline the importance of Enfield’s heritage, where the archives will be based.
“There will be a reading room located on the ground floor, and it will become more of a cultural and heritage hub there.”
The local studies library and archive contains historical documents dating back to the 13th Century. It includes biographies of famous people, journals, local newspapers, maps, pamphlets and photographs.
When the council’s plan to create office space at the Dugdale Centre were revealed, more than 2,000 people signed a petition against it. The Enfield Society later offered the council £20,000 to keep the studies archive in its current location.
Val Munday, from The Enfield Society, had said that the local archives should be kept in the same building as Enfield Museum and that any move away from its current location could jeopardise the archival collection. “Some of those documents are hundreds of years old – changes in temperature and humidity can damage them,” she said.
But cabinet member Rick Jewell defended the plans, saying they would deliver on a recommendation made by Ofsted that the most effective way of delivering a high-quality children’s service was through a hub model.
The plans for the children’s services hub form part of the ‘build the change’ programme, which is designed to move staff into town centres and allow the council to work from “fewer but better-equipped buildings”.
A planning application to convert part of Thomas Hardy House into office space has been submitted and, subject to approval construction work is expected to start in October.