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Former mayor’s ‘great dismay’ at tourism centre’s closure

PUBLISHED: 20:18 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 06:15 21 August 2020

Former Hunstanton mayor Carol Bower who has spoken out against the closure of the resort's tourist information centre  Picture: Matthew Usher.

Former Hunstanton mayor Carol Bower who has spoken out against the closure of the resort's tourist information centre Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

A town’s former mayor has voiced her “great dismay” that a tourist information centre will be moved to a former coal shed, resurfacing tensions over the decision.

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

Hunstanton Town Council and West Norfolk council have agreed to close the town’s tourist information centre (TIC) and replace it with an unstaffed information point in the Coal Shed - a former railway building on LeStrange Terrace near the seafront.

On Thursday night, the issue resurfaced at a meeting of the full town council.

Carol Bower, a borough councillor and former mayor of both Hunstanton and West Norfolk, was critical of the decision in her report to the meeting.

She said: “It was with great dismay that I heard of the decision to close the TIC by some of the Hunstanton town councillors, without any consultation with the businesses and residents of our town, let alone our much valued visitors.”

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

She added the Coal Shed was a “poor alternative, unstaffed and unwelcoming”.

After reading the report, Hunstanton mayor Tony Bishopp said: “Once again, the Hunstanton borough councillor is fighting against the town council.”

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He added all town councillors were informed of plans to close the centre, although traders, the civic society, the choir and the masons were not consulted.

Mr Bishopp asked if any councillors had any questions for Mrs Bower.

Maureen Howard said: “This is her first report in two months and all she can find to comment on is the closure of the TIC when there are so many good things going on in the town she does not feel able to comment on.”

Mrs Bower was accused of not representing the views of residents over her support for developments on the former Kit Kat and Whitley Press sites.

Moving the meeting on, Mr Bishopp said: “I feel we should at least thank councillor Bower for sending us something.”

Hunstanton Civic Society is launching a petition calling for the return of a staffed information centre.

Its chair and former Hunstanton mayor Amanda Bosworth said before the meeting: “This decision was taken without any consultation whatsoever with the business or resident community of Hunstanton and surrounding areas.

“The tourist information centre and its staff offered a range of services, which are already being much missed by visitors and residents alike.”

Campaigners will be gathering for the launch outside the town hall building on Saturday, September 5, from 11am to 3pm.


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