A Norfolk tourist information centre could see its opening hours reduced next year as a result of a feared cut in district council grant funding.

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The historic Market Cross in Wymondham welcomes thousands of visitors every year as the town’s TIC.

However, the listed building in the Market Place is set to have its opening hours cut in 2013 over concerns that the Wymondham Town Council-run facility will lose some of its funding from South Norfolk Council.

Officials at the town council said the reduced opening times were proposed after three of the four staff that work at the TIC decided to retire and South Norfolk Council officers warned that the £8,000 a year grant for the facility could be cut.

It means that the Market Cross will be open to tourists two days a week during the winter period, instead of three, and the summer openings will be reduced from six days a week to four.

Trevor Gurney, town clerk, said Wymondham Town Council would be discussing the proposals at a full council meeting on January 3. He added that the retirement of staff at the TIC and the potential loss of funding from the district council had prompted the town council to review opening hours at the Market Cross.

Mr Gurney said officers from South Norfolk Council were looking to install a 24/7 touch screen information point somewhere in the town for people to access tourist information.

“It is frustrating to reduce hours, but if these South Norfolk Council plans go through, our grant could be withdrawn. They have been looking at this for quite a long time,” he said.

South Norfolk Council, which grants £18,000 a year to independently-run TICs in Wymondham, Harleston and Loddon, is looking to introduce new tourist information points in the three towns, which cost £5,000 if placed indoors or £10,000 for a stand alone screen in the street. The investment would result in less funding for TICs, if approved by councillors, said a spokesman.

South Norfolk Councillor Florence Ellis said: “Visitors want information when they visit at weekends and in the evenings, and we are confident these improvements to our service will be appreciated and attract even more people to this great place.”

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