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‘It’s crippling us’: Hundreds call for town’s tourist information centre to be reinstated

PUBLISHED: 14:03 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:40 05 September 2020

Visiting cyclists sign the petition to reinstate the tourist information centre at Hunstanton  Picture: Chris Bishop

Visiting cyclists sign the petition to reinstate the tourist information centre at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

Hundreds signed a petition calling for a town’s tourist information centre to be reinstated.

Former Hunstanton and borough mayor, Carol Bower (left), collects signatures for the petition to reinstate the town's tourist information centre Picture: Chris BishopFormer Hunstanton and borough mayor, Carol Bower (left), collects signatures for the petition to reinstate the town's tourist information centre Picture: Chris Bishop

Hunstanton Town Council and West Norfolk council closed the centre at the resort’s town hall during lockdown, arguing it was too small to allow social distancing.

They replaced it with an un-staffed information point in the Coal Shed, a former railway building near the seafront.

The move sparked anger from traders, residents and visitors, who said it was a vital resource.

On Saturday, Hunstanton Civic Society launched a petition calling for the TIC to be replaced.

From left Amanda Bosworth, Yvonne Bridger and John Bridger outside the un-staffed tourist information point at the Coal Shed in Hunstanton From left Amanda Bosworth, Yvonne Bridger and John Bridger outside the un-staffed tourist information point at the Coal Shed in Hunstanton

Among the first to sign it were Harrold and Jennifer Horrocks from Glossop, Derbyshire. The couple, both 71, said they had spent 20 minutes following confusing signs, trying to find the information point.

“We’ve been going round in circles,” said Mrs Horrocks. “I just wanted some information about what there is to do.”

Also struggling to find the information point were Amanda Anderson, 44, her husband Scott, 45 and sons Daniel and Michael, aged nine and seven, who were visiting from in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.

“We thought we would go to the TIC but this sign is pointing here, this sign is pointing there,” she said.

Inside the new un-staffed tourist information point at Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopInside the new un-staffed tourist information point at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

Yvonne Bridger, from the civic society, who was collecting signatures on The Green, said: “This must be happening day in, day out. People looking for the tourist information centre are following the signs and walking round in circles.”

Debbie Harrison, who runs the Gemini Lodge Guest House, on Alexandra Road, said her trade had suffered since the staffed TIC closed.

“All of us B&Bs rely on the TIC to send us people,” she said. “It’s crippling us.”

Sandy Duff-Dick, who runs the Rosamaly Guest House, with her husband Bob, went to view the information point for the first time.

Tourist information signs point in different directions at Hunstanton, confusing visitors  Picture: Chris Bishop Tourist information signs point in different directions at Hunstanton, confusing visitors Picture: Chris Bishop

“Since it’s been open, we’ve not had anyone from here,” she said. “For accommodation providers, it’s not helpful.”

Mrs Bridger said the civic society was calling for the return of a staffed facility.

“Where it is, is not important,” she said. “It’s the staffed element that matters.”

A steady stream of locals and visitors queued at times to sign the petition.

People queue across The Green outside the former Tourist Information Centre, to sign a petition to reinstate it  Picture: Chris BishopPeople queue across The Green outside the former Tourist Information Centre, to sign a petition to reinstate it Picture: Chris Bishop

“There’s just been so much support,” said former town and borough mayor Carol Bower.

Yvonne Bridger (left) with visitors Jennifer and Harold Horrocks from Glossop, Derbys, who spent 20 minutes following confusing signs as they tried to find the tourist information point at Hunstanton  Picture: Chris BishopYvonne Bridger (left) with visitors Jennifer and Harold Horrocks from Glossop, Derbys, who spent 20 minutes following confusing signs as they tried to find the tourist information point at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop

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