Tourist information centres are 'a thing of the past' - council leader

Visiting cyclists sign the petition to reinstate the tourist information centre at Hunstanton Pictu

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

Staffed tourist information centres are a thing of the past, councillors heard.

Hunstanton Civic Society member Yvonne Bridger asked West Norfolk council's full council meeting whether leader Brian Long would add his voice to the 2,233 people who had signed a petition calling for the town's staffed information centre to be reopened.

The facility, at the resort's town hall, was closed last April and replaced with an un-staffed display of leaflets and information at the Coal Shed on LeStrange Terrace    

From left Amanda Bosworth, Yvonne Bridger and John Bridger outside the un-staffed tourist informatio

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

Mrs Bridger said the closure had been carried out with "unnecessary haste" without consultation. Mr Long said as the pandemic arrived, the council had to consider the safety of staff.

He added West Norfolk had paid £40,000 a year  to cover the centre's running costs. 


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Mr Long said: "Usage of the TIC has decreased in recent years, making it a financial liability. We're not alone in reducing this service. TICs, I would suggest are a thing of the past."

Hunstanton's new 'unmanned' tourist information centre will be in the Coal Shed, on Le Strange Terra

Hunstanton's 'unmanned' tourist information centre in the Coal Shed, on Le Strange Terrace - Credit: Chris Bishop

Mrs Bridger asked whether the council would agree to draw up a funded plan to reopen a tourist information centre and assist Hunstanton's recovery from the pandemic as soon as possible after April 1.

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Mr Long said Elizabeth Nockolds, the council's cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, would be carrying out a review of the closure.

Hunstanton ward councillor later said the council had no interest in tourism. Mrs Nockolds said the council was working with other organisations to develop a tourism zone. 

The meeting heard reports from cabinet members including Graham Middleton, the council's portfolio for business development, said a new advisory group would be set up to oversee funding applications for the Guildhall of St George.

Proposals to restore the medieval building were included  in the council's unsuccessful bid for £21m from the government's Future High Streets Fund. But Mr Middleton said the guildhall project had scored highly and would be included in future funding bids.

The Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Guildhall of St George in King's Lynn - Credit: Chris Bishop

Alexandra Kemp said there was insufficient consultation over the bid, with the council only consulting 500 of the 40,000 people who live in Lynn. She said some of the projects were not strong enough an the council should be bolder with a railway extension or park and ride. Mr Middleton said he did not think the suggestions were the right ones but he would be happy to discuss them with Mrs Kemp.

The meeting began with a minute's silence in memory of former borough and county councillor Peter Wilkinson. Mr Wilkinson was also a founding board member of Freebridge Community Housing and husband of the current deputy mayor Margaret Wilkinson.

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