Hadleigh: Anger over omission from county tourist guide

The cover of the Suffolk Town & Country Holiday Guide 2013

The cover of the Suffolk Town & Country Holiday Guide 2013 - Credit: Archant

PEOPLE living in a historic Suffolk town which dates back to Roman times are “annoyed and upset” after it was left out of a district council-backed tourist guide.

Traders in Hadleigh recently called a crunch meeting to examine ways of reviving the town’s economy after high street businesses reported a drop in footfall following the opening of a new Morrisons supermarket on the outskirts of town.

But at a recent council meeting, members said they were shocked to see the glossy Suffolk Town and Country Holiday Guide 2013 drop on their doorsteps with no mention of Hadleigh in it.

The document, which was put together by tourism teams at Babergh, Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Borough councils, highlights other towns such as Newmarket, Mildenhall, Bury, Brandon and Ipswich.

But Hadleigh town councillor Penny Cook said: “I know we are not seen as a priority tourist destination like Lavenham but we are a working town and we deserve to be featured.

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“The worst part is that Babergh District Council has its main offices in our town and yet they don’t think it is important enough to feature in their own brochure.”

Another councillor David Grutchfield added: “Hadleigh is a really interesting place with lots of historic buildings, a high street with many interesting independent shops and about 80 different organisations run out of the town. We need to encourage people to visit Hadleigh and the least Babergh could do is give us a mention.”

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Town council staff have written to Babergh’s economic development officer stressing that in view of the recent multi-organisation push to improve tourism in the town, the omission was “unacceptable”.

A Babergh spokeswoman defended the move and said the booklet was predominantly an accommodation guide covering the whole county. But she said: “There is no hotel, inn, B&B or self catering accommodation advertised in Hadleigh, which would appear to show a lower offer than areas where there are several.

“The guide is only one medium. Others such as South and Heart of Suffolk website provide a platform to promote what the towns and villages have to offer. The district council co-ordinates the site and provides links to the localities’ own websites. It is in the hands of the local partnerships to manage the content and make these as appealing as possible.”

She said traders and residents needed to pool resources to make a significant impact on trade and tourism.

“Hadleigh has a very active chamber of commerce which is pulling together and leading a team that will take ownership of the issues and ensure a programme of activities to raise the town’s profile.

“Babergh District Council’s economic development and tourism team is actively supporting this approach,” she added.

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