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Hunstanton tourist information service set for review after hub move controversy

The provision of tourist information services in Hunstanton looks set to be reviewed following talks with borough council leaders.

Discussions have also taken place about the possibility of services being made available at the town’s library, before plans for a replacement facility are implemented.

And campaigners say they are cautiously optimistic, though they maintain urgent action is still needed.

Hunstanton Town Hall (42737767)
Hunstanton Town Hall (42737767)

The developments come nearly four months after plans to permanently shut the resort’s former tourist information centre at the Town Hall and replace it with an unstaffed facility at the Coal Shed Gallery were announced.

Officials from West Norfolk Council and the Hunstanton Town Council, which jointly reached the decision, said it was necessary because of social distancing requirements.

And the long-term vision is for a permanent facility to be housed in the town’s proposed new library.

But more than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of a staffed tourist information centre, while a survey of businesses suggested around 70 per cent believed the closure would damage the town’s economy .

Now, West Norfolk Council has confirmed its intention to review the current provision, following discussions between its deputy leader, Elizabeth Nockolds, with representatives of an action group led by the town’s Civic Society.

A spokesman said the review was due to take place in the spring “with the proviso that our staff are not dealing with the Covid pandemic at that time.”

Talks have also taken place with Norfolk County Council about the possibility of tourist information leaflets being made available in the town’s current library.

The spokesman said the authority was awaiting a response on that issue.

But Andrew Jamieson, who is both a town councillor and the county council’s cabinet member for finance, said his aim was to have staffed tourist provision in the new library, which remains subject to planning permission, and in the premises on Valentine Road that are set to be used as a temporary facility during any building work.

He suggested that the remit may form part of broader staff responsibilities and said there was a need to acknowledge the other ways in which visitors can access information.

But he added: “We’re lucky in Hunstanton that we have so many groups that use the library.”

Hunstanton Civic Society chairman Amanda Bosworth said there was “room for hope” as a result of the latest discussions, but warned the town could not wait for a long-term answer such as the new library.

She said the town was speaking with one voice on the issue, adding: “As long as everyone has the will to find a solution, we’re sure it’s there.”

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