Tourists will be left to aimlessly wander Britain’s widest high street the summer after civic leaders decided not to hand over the mayor’s robing room to create a temporary tourist information centre.
Despite voting to issue loans valued at £6,240 to create an emergency TIC just two weeks ago, councillors have now voted against establishing the temporary outlet in the newly-refurbished Town Hall.
The decision will come as a blow to Marlborough’s beleaguered traders, restauranteurs, publicans, and hotel and B&B owners.
Marlborough Chamber of Commerce had backed the proposal, saying visitors should be encouraged to extend their visits to the historic market town, which would generate income for the local economy.
Although at a previous meeting the mayor, Alexander Kirk Wilson, had conceded that he may have to surrender his robing room – the small room in which he and his entourage don their traditional garb for official occasions – on a temporary basis, the plan was scuppered at a town council meeting on Monday evening.
The reason given was that councillors did not want the activities of the tourist information centre to conflict with wedding receptions, which are held at the 109-year-old building.
The vote came as a blow to councillor Richard Pitts, who had spearheaded a campaign – and formed a working party – alongside fellow councillors Andy Ross and Guy Loosmore, community campaigner Val Compton and the two former TIC staff who were employed by Wiltshire Council before the authority pulled the rug on tourism provision in the town.
Cllr Pitts, who sits on the committee of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, said this week: “It’s a disaster really. We are deeply disappointed.”
Cllr Pitts said plans to create a Marlborough guide – which could be issued to tourists via hotels and B&Bs – was still on the cards, but as work had not even started on the project it was unlikely to see the light of day before the end of this year’s tourist season.