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Norfolk council criticised over ‘worrying’ loss of years of meeting records

PUBLISHED: 16:51 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 24 September 2018

North Norfolk District Council. Picture: NNDC

North Norfolk District Council. Picture: NNDC

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Concerns have been raised over the discovery a Norfolk district council has lost years’ worth of minutes of full council meetings.

David Russell, formerly the first Labour chairman of North Norfolk District Council, (NNDC), from 1997-1998, as member for Hickling ward, and first Labour vice chairman of NNDC, from 1996-1997. Photo: David RussellDavid Russell, formerly the first Labour chairman of North Norfolk District Council, (NNDC), from 1997-1998, as member for Hickling ward, and first Labour vice chairman of NNDC, from 1996-1997. Photo: David Russell

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has lost the minutes of six years’ worth of full council meetings, which are said to contain “items of social and public interest lost forever.”

North Norfolk Labour archivist, David Russell, discovered the loss of the six years’ worth of records, from March 1993 to February 1999, while researching the Labour party’s history in the area.

Mr Russell, who is also a Cromer town councillor, said: “They’ve lost the council records for full meetings for 1993 to 1999.”

He added: “No one seems to know where the minutes are.”

The council looked into the whereabouts of the minutes, but Mr Russell said he was told he could only access their findings by submitting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, and has not yet received a response.

Mr Russell, who is working on a book about the past 100 years of north Norfolk’s constituency Labour party, said the loss of the records was worrying, as they include information that cannot be sourced elsewhere, such as the parties councillors belonged to.

The book, titled The Banner Bright, will be published to celebrate the group’s centenary next year, after it was founded in September 1919.

He appealed for anyone who was on the council at that time, or who may have copies of the missing minutes, to contact him.

He said: “The back catalogue from 1993 to 1999 is missing.

“If anyone on the council at that time has any of these records, please come forward.”

He added: “It’s local history gone missing, and they [NNDC] don’t seem very worried about it.”

A spokesperson for NNDC said: “A single volume of full council minutes from the 1990s was lost some years ago.”

They added: “Unfortunately, there are no electronic minutes from that period.”

An audit of NNDC records was carried out around 2008, and this is thought to be when the records were discovered to be missing.

NNDC records are kept in a secure, fire proof vault at the council building in Cromer.

There are no plans to change where they are stored or to deposit them at the Norfolk Record Office.

Anyone with copies of the missing records is asked to contact Mr Russell on redrussell88@gmail.com.

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