‘Vital’ new tourist information office to open at railway station
PUBLISHED: 08:24 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:29 17 July 2020
A new tourist information office is to be unveiled in a coastal town centre as a rail partnership hopes to boost tourism.
For the first time in five years, Lowestoft will have its own dedicated, large-scale tourist information office from next week, as work is completed on a brand new facility at the town’s railway station.
The Lowestoft Central Project and the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership have joined forces to open the office in time for the Summer holidays and hope it will provide a welcome boost to tourism in the area as the country emerges from lockdown.
The facility will see a mix of tourist information combined with books, locally produced crafts and souvenirs available in addition to stocking public transport timetables, railway collectables and refreshments.
Volunteers have spent the past few months converting a former shop unit at the station as part of Greater Anglia’s Community Space initiative, complementing previous schemes by the Lowestoft Central Project which have included restoration of the former Parcels Office to create a public exhibition space, together with a host of other improvements at the UK’s most easterly station.
Utilising some of the equipment salvaged from the town’s former Tourist information Centre and gifted by East Suffolk Council, the office has been finished in a heritage green and cream colour scheme complementing other recently restored parts of the station.
The new facility will open to the public from 10am on Monday, July 20, operating daily during the summer months with slightly reduced opening hours during the winter.
With it being widely welcomed, Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “It’s great news that a Tourist Information Office is opening in Lowestoft Station next week. “Special thanks are due to all those volunteers who have made this possible.
“The station is an ideal location for this vital facility.”
Bill Dickson, chairman of the Broads Authority, said: “I want to thank and congratulate the Community Rail Partnership for their initiative in opening this much needed Tourism Information Centre at Lowestoft station.”
Martin Halliday, Community Rail Norfolk Development Officer, said: “We are delighted through the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership to work with the Lowestoft Central Project and Greater Anglia to bring another much-needed public facility to the station.”
The station will remain part of the district-wide Visitor Information Point network, with the new office also linked to the National Park information centres operated by the Broads Authority.
With restrictions on using public transport imposed as part of the Covid-19 pandemic beginning to relax, the facility is seen as a welcome boost for both the town and regional tourist economy.
Current advice is that those travelling on the railway should wear a face covering, and these will be available to purchase at Lowestoft’s new tourist information office.
Local organisations wishing to be featured in the new tourist information office are welcome to drop in or send information by post to Lowestoft Central Project, Lowestoft Railway Station, Denmark Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 2EG.
Bill Dickson, chairman of the Broads Authority, said: “Lowestoft is a key gateway to the Broads National Park and this will help us promote access to the Southern Broads and beyond through the scenic Bittern and Wherry railway lines.”
Peter Mayne, chairman of Community Rail Norfolk, said: “Our Community Rail Partnerships are committed to supporting the local economy, especially through tourism and I am delighted that this new facility will help to promote the wealth of attractions and activities to be enjoyed across the region including those that can be reached by taking the train via the East Suffolk, Bittern and Wherry Lines.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous added: “This news is very timely as we come out of the lockdown and in advance of the summer holidays.
“There is so much to do and to see in the area which this office will showcase.”
Simone Bailey, Greater Anglia’s Asset Management Director, said: “We would like to thank all of the volunteers for their hard work in renovating the office, as part of our Community Space initiative.
“Lowestoft station is the gateway to the UK’s most easterly town, which welcomes thousands of tourists every year.
“We are really pleased with the tourist information office and hope it will be well used by customers arriving by train and other visitors to the town, giving them ideas for other days out locally - including trips by rail.”
Martin Halliday, Community Rail Norfolk Development Officer, added: “With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic seriously affecting the local tourist economy, we hope this latest development will provide a significant and timely boost to both local and regional tourism and, where appropriate, help to promote travel by rail.”
Dan Poitras, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you for all the hard work the team have put in to opening the new Information Centre.
“With the station located in the centre of town, easy to walk to the beach or stroll left up London Road North to cafes, restaurants, banks, estate agents, solicitors and of course shopping, it couldn’t be more convenient for visitors.”
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