July 31 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk senior reporter
Friday, March 28, 2014
Staff at the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Bury St Edmunds are hoped to be redeployed as part of plans to replace it with a network of information hubs.
More detail has been revealed on changes to St Edmundsbury’s tourist information service after it was announced earlier this week the award-winning centre in Angel Hill will shut saving £70,000 a year.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has said the Apex entertainment venue will become the main source of tourism information, but it will also be available from locations including Moyse’s Hall Museum in the Buttermarket.
Councillor Sarah Stamp, cabinet member for operational tourism at the borough council, said out of 11 staff - the equivalent of six full-time positions - the equivalent of about one full time post may be lost.
She said: “We cannot predict the outcome of the consultation [with staff], but our aim is to redeploy elsewhere wherever possible and put them into Moyse’s Hall or the Apex.”
The box office at the Apex and TIC are set to be merged, creating a new single team.
Mrs Stamp said: “We are investing significantly in training so any member of staff can answer questions and sell tickets.”
Staff in all the new locations will be trained, and there will also be investment in improved signage and a better online service.
Mrs Stamp said the number of people using the TIC in Angel Hill was down 43% since 2011/12, which mirrored the national trend. “The reality is people are just going online for the information,” she said.
She said the response to this week’s announcement had generally been “really positive,” adding a consultation a few years ago had revealed people wanted to keep a tourist information service and were keen to explore opportunities for relocating it.
Bury Society chairman Alan Jary felt some presence should remain on Angel Hill. He said: “That is the very heart of what we are - the Abbey, the award-winning Abbey Gardens.”
The TIC premises are rented from the Bury St Edmunds Town Trust.