After an informal meeting of councillors and those who have been working to set up a temporary tourist information centre (TIC) in the Mayor’s parlour of the town hall, it is clear that no new centre will be opening this year. The project, said Councillor Rich Pitts, has been “kicked into the long grass.”
Town councillors are split between those who want to give urgent support to the town’s business life in these harsh economic times, and those who want to retain the parlour for robing and as a ‘thinking space’ for the Mayor.
Val Compton who has been working on plans to start the TIC quickly so as to catch at least some of this year’s tourists, told Marlborough News Online “Sadly, it is a golden opportunity missed.” She said that back in May it looked as though a TIC could be set up in St Peter’s.
That scheme fell because of opposition from the craft shop there to the TIC’s retail plans to provide a revenue stream to fund salaries. When the scheme to use the Mayor’s parlour was put forward as a temporary alternative, the Chamber of Commerce gave its full support (read our story of June 28.)
Ms Compton believes crucial momentum has now been lost and some councillors are not making the needs of the town their priority. And it looks as though her fall back scheme to provide ‘tourist folders’ of information in cafés and pubs will not happen either.
Councillor Pitts, who has been working to get the TIC up and running as fast as possible, gave his response: “Depressed is not the word.” Now the aim is to get a TIC open by 1 April 2012. But no one seems to have any idea where it could be based.