Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Bury St Edmunds: Borough council is criticised for handling of decision to shut tourist information centre (TIC)

PUBLISHED: 12:56 03 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:20 03 April 2014

The Tourist Information Centre on the Angel Hill in Bury.

The Tourist Information Centre on the Angel Hill in Bury.

There was not enough consultation about the closure of the award-winning tourist information centre in Bury St Edmunds, it has been claimed, with workers there only finding out on the day it was announced to the public.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which runs the TIC in Angel Hill, has come under fire for the way it has handled telling tourism staff of the news and for the closure of the TIC being an officer decision, rather than one taken by councillors.

But Sarah Stamp, portfolio holder with responsibility for operational tourism at the borough council, strongly refuted it was an undemocratic decision and said she had wanted to manage communicating the news so a consistent message got out.

A council spokeswoman added staff were briefed on the proposals and the council was now in active consultation with them and UNISON over the changes.

Staff, some councillors and the press were told on March 25 of the plans to shut the TIC and replace it with a network of advice points. The decision was made the day before.

Mrs Stamp, who is a Conservative councillor, said: “For me it was key staff and members were told, but it was also key we got the press release out there so there was a clear, consistent message going out rather than setting hairs running.”

Green Party councillor Julia Wakelam spoke of her concern staff at the TIC were only informed of the decision hours before the public announcement was made.

“I find this quite shocking and disrespectful to our loyal and committed staff,” she said. “This will be a big and challenging change for them all and I feel the council should have spent more time preparing them for this.”

Last week Mrs Stamp said out of 11 staff – the equivalent of six full-time positions – the equivalent of about one full-time post may be lost.

Ms Wakelam said she understood the rationale for the decision, but questioned whether it should have been taken without debate.

Independent councillor David Nettleton said: “We as members have not been asked for our opinion. I would say why didn’t it go through Bury Area [Working Party] the other week?”

He added: “What are they going to decide to do next by delegated officer?”

Mrs Stamp said: “This was a delegated officer decision, but one which was taken following close consultation and input from me as portfolio holder, and an informal discussion with cabinet colleagues, and has been mentioned several times over quite a long period in full council, cabinet and scrutiny papers.”

She said public consultation in 2011 on the budget found 67% favoured the TIC to move to an alternative town centre location.

She described the move to a network of advice points at locations including the Apex and Moyse’s Hall Museum as an improvement to the current tourist information service in the town. The changes will come into effect from June.

5 comments

  • Shame lovely Bury St Edmunds cannot apparently afford a decent (small) shop window centrally placed to serve our tourists.

    Report this comment

    Roberta

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Caution: running hairs, and multiple councils doing very little.

    Report this comment

    Blackeye

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • How can you improve an award winning tourist information centre by changing it to advice points dotted around the town, you cannot. That is why it is called a Tourist information centre not centres so tourists can recognise it and have a central point to go to. I can only surmise that the council have other plans for this building otherwise why would you come up with this harebrained scheme without proper consultation.

    Report this comment

    royg

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Monumentally stupid idea. Not to mention shortsighted. When I visit a tourist information centres (and I tried to visit BSE's last Saturnday afternoon) I want to speak to a *person* with local knowledge. Not a half-baked "advice point" with less information than a mobile phone app. As suggested above - this is about freeing up valuable property - no other explanation makes any sense.

    Report this comment

    Caliope

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Unless I'm mistaken the council don't own this building so it rather takes the wind out of that conspiracy theory. If it's such a bad idea why are all of the groups associated with tourism for BSE supporting it? The public services we fund need to reflect the changing social and economic environment we find ourselves in, simple as that!

    Report this comment

    BuryBoy

    Friday, April 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The devastated mother of a teenage girl killed in a crash on the A47 in Suffolk has paid tribute to her daughter, who she has described as being “beautiful inside and out”.

The parents and sister of a Weeley man killed during the Bataclan massacre in Paris two years ago have spoken of their “unspeakable sadness” after last night’s Manchester Arena bombing.

Sir Roger Moore, the longest serving James Bond, from 1973 to 1984, has died of cancer, aged 89, his family has announced..

Two new low-cost retail stores are coming to Bury St Edmunds, as a long redundant site is brought back into use.

The full list of award winners, including glory for Suffolk and North Essex, was unveiled at the Chelsea Flower Show, today.

Police are working to establish whether suspected Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was working alone or as part of a wider network as more victims of last night’s attack are named.

A Colchester man accused of hiring a hitman to kill his stepfather over a inheritance row had no “financial or emotional motive” to carry it out, a court heard.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24