Bury St Edmunds’ Tourist Information Centre will close

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The Tourist Information Centre on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds is to close in June saving £70,000.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council is moving its tourism service to The Apex in Charter Square with a network of hubs at Moyse’s Hall Museum, the Theatre Royal, Smiths Row and St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

It is also currently talking to other partners in the town involved with tourism in order to extend the network further.

This could include the town’s bus and railway station and the Abbey Gardens.

The borough says that this will create 400 extra hours for tourism advice.

The move affects seven members of staff not all full-time workers and unison is c urrently in talks about the impact of the decision.

Sam Lee, regional organiser said there would be a loss of 40 hours which would represent the equivalent of 1.1 posts.

“We are in discussions and don’t want anyone to lose their job. The main concern for staff is that they will be moving away from visitors and away from their customers. We are in discussion at the moment as to how to make the best of the situation “

Cllr Sarah Stamp, portfolio holder for operational toursim said: “We’ve known for some time that visitors are using the internet more and more to find out about where to stay and what to see, so we’re changing the way we help visitors to make the information available more relevant to them.

“By creating several smaller tourist hubs instead of one contact point, we will be able to help people arriving from any direction. By having several points across the town we can support our town businesses because they’ll benefit from greater footfall.

“At a time when many towns are simply closing down their tourism service, we’ve chosen to invest in this important service as we believe there’s still a role for personal face to face advice.

Cllr Stamp said that while it was too early to say if there would be any job losses the council was aiming to redeploy as many if not all staff to the other tourism outlets.

The town’s Shopmobility Scheme will continue to operate from Angel Hill and the bus station in St Andrew’s Street North. Blue Badge guides will continue to operate from Angel Hill.

“This is very much about not taking away. It is very much about extending it,” she added.