Oxfordshire history group criticises county council cuts

Historians have said "disproportionate" cuts to an Oxfordshire history society will cause "irreversible long-term damage".

Oxfordshire Local History Association (OHLA) is an umbrella organisation for several local history groups.

A spokesman said the service, which maintains the county's records office, faced cuts of 36% over four years.

The Conservative-run county council said it would look at the concerns but it had to make "some tough decisions".

A council spokesman added: "The history service has achieved efficiency savings in the past few years and has combined services to ensure the new service continues the work undertaken in the past, as well as enabling the service to be secured and even improved in the future.

'Under threat'

"Most service areas have been asked to make contribution to these savings - the exceptions being fire and rescue and children's social care."

However, the OHLA has complained about the "cramming of stock and staff" into St Luke's Church in Cowley.

Tony Hadland, chairman of OLHA, said: "Just as a loaf needs yeast, the preservation of our county's heritage needs a small core of highly skilled professionals.

"That already depleted team, based at the Oxfordshire History Centre in Cowley, is now under threat as never before."

Dr Malcolm Graham, a local historian, said: "We're talking here about a community in danger of losing its collective memory."

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