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Concerns over Bury St Edmunds’ new tourist service

Concerns are mounting over the effect of closing the Tourist Information office (TIC) on Bury St Edmunds’ Angel Hill.

Bury Society chairman Karen Hurden is dissatisfied with the current system, introduced last month, which has seen The Apex, in Charter Square, become the town’s main centre for information.

She blames a lack of signage for people not knowing where to find the town’s support network of ‘tourist hubs’ - located at Moyse’s Hall Museum, the Theatre Royal, Smiths Row and St Edmundsbury Cathedral - and has called for a review to be carried out.

She said: “The tourist service at the moment is not delivering for tourists coming to the town and I believe a review is necessary.

“In the meantime, we (Mrs Hurden and Martyn Taylor, Bury Society committee member and local historian) want to be constructive, so have planned a meeting with Cllr Sarah Stamp (portfolio holder for heritage, arts and culture).”

Cllr Stamp said: “There is signage on order for the front of the cathedral and for around the town, so we’re addressing that and I apologise for the delay in implementing it.”

She said feedback from people using the new tourist service had been ‘extremely positive’ and that she was confident it was working.

The council says that having tourist information available at several places in the town allows people more than 400 extra hours a year in which to seek advice.

But Arthur Debenham, who fought the closure of the TIC on Angel Hill by collecting around 600 signatures on a petition, claims its closure is having a knock-on effect on his business, with Suffolk County Tours taking around 20 per cent fewer bookings.

He said: “It’s affecting my guided coach tours because they (the TIC) are my booking agents. Some people don’t realise it’s even moved at this present time and are going to the wrong place. Others aren’t happy about having to go up to The Apex.”

He added: “It’s so disjointed and is creating such a terrible impression of our town. It beggars belief.”

The council says closing the TIC on Angel Hill will save it £70,000 a year.

Cllr Stamp said: “As with anything else change takes time to get used to, but I’m confident we’re offering more of a tourist information service than ever before and that things are working.”

 

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