Woodbridge: Council demands answers over controversial tourist information centre move

COMMUNITY leaders have demanded answers over a controversial proposal to move a town’s tourist information centre (TIC).

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s cabinet will meet next month to decide the fate of Woodbridge TIC. In a bid to save money they are proposing the service be moved from its current location at the station to the library. Although the centre would still be manned, it will no longer sell rail tickets and there will be a greater emphasis on internet-based information.

The plan has sparked fierce opposition in Woodbridge and at a meeting of the town council on Tuesday night members demanded the district authority justify the move.

They outlined a number of questions they would like answered before a decision on the future of the service is made. These include: Why was there no consultation with the town council, businesses and people of Woodbridge over the proposed changes?; What are the costs of moving to the library and what are the predicted savings? Will there be qualified staff at the new location?; What signage will there be to inform people the TIC has moved?

Following a vote it was agreed to send the questions to the district council and to officially oppose the move. Mayor Charles Notcutt said they must “torpedo” the proposal and make it “abundantly” clear the town council is in support of the TIC’s current location.

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However some councillors thought it was wrong to oppose the plans before getting answers to the questions. Josh Sayles said: “Our proper response should not be to give in - but we should wait to hear the answers to our questions before we make a decision.”

Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for leisure and economic development at the district council, said more people are going online for tourist information and fewer are visiting TICs.

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“We’ve been open about these plans and they will be fully aired and debated before the decision is made,” he said. “We do not normally consult about individual service changes, although in this instance I asked for the views of Woodbridge Town Council and I look forward to hearing from them.” The district is also working with various partners in a bid to attract visitors and meet needs.

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