Sudbury: Tourist information centre saved

AN award-winning tourist centre in Suffolk will continue to operate after plans to merge it with a town hall were announced.

In a bid to make further savings, Babergh District Council is planning to hand over Sudbury’s Tourist Advice Centre to the town council, which will save the cash-strapped council �24,000 a year.

The news was welcomed by Sue Brotherwood, Sudbury’s town clerk, who said she would be meeting with Babergh next week to discuss the plans for the new service which should be in place by next April.

She said: “The good news is, after all this uncertainty, we can now reassure everyone in the town that the tourist information centre will not be closing and it will be staying exactly where it is [in Gaol Lane].

“Staff levels are still to be negotiated and I will be able to give more specific details on the changes in the New Year.”

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Although no-one from Babergh would comment on the changes, according to a report issued, the plan is to combine the two centres to provide a single staffing structure with slightly reduced opening times.

The report goes on to say that the service, which currently has four staff members, could be provided to much the same standard as it currently is but at less cost.

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Any redundancy costs will be met by Babergh and the report says the agreement will initially run for two years in return for a management fee of �15,000 per year.

Three years ago Sudbury’s tourist centre was rated as one of the top ten in England. It was also praised by the VisitBritain group, who described the knowledge of staff and the information available as “invaluable to visitors”, after they sent a mystery shopper to check on the service.

Officers at Babergh are preparing a report on the wider strategic direction for tourism in Babergh and Mid-Suffolk, but says the management transfer of the Sudbury Tourist Centre would not affect the wider situation in the district.

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