Barnstaple’s town clerk is calling on everyone to back a campaign to keep its records in the town.

Under Devon County Council’s cost-cutting proposals, two thirds of the records currently kept at Barnstaple Library could be moved to Exeter and Taunton.

Among the records likely to be moved are the three Barnstaple charter scrolls, which gave the town its status as a market town and date back hundreds of years.

But town clerk Will Austin says Barnstaple town councillors are determined to see them stay in their current home.

“Councillors feel they have a duty to represent the clamour of discontent over the closure of the records office,” he said.

“I’m unhappy that local people would have to go to Exeter or Taunton and equally unhappy that some of the most fundamental historical records of the town could go elsewhere.

“I have been told that South West Heritage Trust intend to make the records available electronically, but I think they do need to recognise the strength of feeling locally.

“One resident told me that it’s a bit like saying ‘we’re taking away the Albert Clock but we’ll leave you a cardboard cut-out in its place. It’s just not the same.’ The records belong to the town and it really ought to be the town that decides where they’re kept.”

As well as councillor support, an online petition has been set up with almost 1,000 people already backing the campaign.

Devon County Council is planning to hand the records over to the newly-formed South West Heritage Trust to preserve the most high-priority items.

“We do have to recognise the county council faces significant funding difficulties but we want to engage with them and the Heritage Trust to see if there are ways in which we can help to retain the records office,” Mr Austin added.

You can sign the petition at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-north-devon-record-office-and-local-studies-centre