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‘All we want is common sense’ over tourist centre

From left, Amanda Bosworth, John Bridger, Stephen and Sheila Kent and Yvonne Bridger at the Hunstanton Heritage Centre  Picture: Chris Bishop

From left, Amanda Bosworth, John Bridger, Stephen and Sheila Kent and Yvonne Bridger at the Hunstanton Heritage Centre Picture: Chris Bishop

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Hunstanton’s new ‘tourist information point’ has opened amid growing calls for a rethink over the closure of its predecessor.

Hunstanton's new 'unmanned' tourist information centre will be in the Coal Shed, on Le Strange Terrace  Picture: Chris BishopHunstanton's new 'unmanned' tourist information centre will be in the Coal Shed, on Le Strange Terrace Picture: Chris Bishop

Hunstanton’s Tourist Information Centre, which was based in the ground floor of the town hall has now been replaced with an unstaffed display in the Coal Shed Gallery near the seafront.

The TIC is eventually expected to be relocated to the town’s new library, but this is still at an early planning stage.

Hunstanton Civic Society discussed the closure at a meeting at the town’s heritage centre.

Amanda Bosworth, the society’s chair, has written to the town council urging it to reconsider the move, questioning how social distancing can be maintained in a smaller, unsupervised environment.

The tourist information centre in Hunstanton Town Hall was closed in March, when the coronavirus lockdown began  Picture: Chris BishopThe tourist information centre in Hunstanton Town Hall was closed in March, when the coronavirus lockdown began Picture: Chris Bishop

Member Yvonne Bridger said the decision did not serve the community.

She added: “All we want to see is common sense prevail and an interim solution that could involve having the TIC here.”

Around 200 residents and traders have signed a petition calling for a U-turn.

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Minutes obtained under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act show the town council’s employment committee agreed it would not reopen and staff would be made redundant on June 6. It came after the future of the TIC was discussed at a virtual meeting on June 2.

Attendees included Elizabeth Nockolds, deputy leader of West Norfolk council, council officers Duncan Hall and Martin Chisholm, along with Hunstanton town councillors Tony Bishopp, Mike Ruston, Adrian Winnington and Hunstanton town clerk Jan Roomes.

Minutes state: “It was agreed the current TIC area was no longer suitable due to social distancing, extra staff would be required for monitoring footfall and regular cleaning be undertaken.”

The Coal Shed was suggested as an alternative.

No figures are available for last summer’s footfall. But the town council’s annual report for 2018/19 said there had been “impressive visitor numbers” including in excess of 1,000 international visitors and approximately 45,000 visitors from across the UK”.

It added: “The excellent and well trained staff ensure that local businesses are promoted by holding sample

menus from local restaurants, arranging accommodation bookings for providers registered with Visit

West Norfolk, sell tickets for events in the town hall, community centre, Sealife Centre, local

panto and many more.”


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