Mayor's warning over Hunstanton tourist hub move
Plans to move Hunstanton’s tourist information centre could do more harm than good, the town’s outgoing mayor has suggested.
An agreement for the facility to be housed at the Oasis leisure centre this summer was announced several weeks ago.
The hub, which is currently expected to open in mid-May, is due to replace the controversial facility at the Coal Shed Gallery, which was used last year after the former centre at the town hall was closed.
But the outgoing mayor, Tony Bishopp, questioned the move in his report to the annual town meeting, held virtually on Wednesday evening.
He claimed the move to the Coal Shed site had “proved popular and successful”, despite fierce criticism of the switch at the time.
On the move to the Oasis, he continued: “I personally am not convinced this is a good move as it is now further away from the businesses in town, but that is what has been agreed as a result of an unsuccessful petition from a local society.”
That appears to have been a reference to the campaign led by the town’s Civic Society calling for the restoration of a staffed tourist information centre.
But a survey carried out by the society at the height of the campaign suggested 70 per cent of town businesses believed the move from the town hall to the Coal Shed gallery was damaging to the town.
A permanent tourist information hub is due to be developed as part of the project to build a new library within the redevelopment of what is currently the bus station.
Mr Bishopp, who is due to step down as mayor at the town council’s annual meeting next week, having held the office since September 2019 after the resignation of Amanda Bosworth – who now chairs the Civic Society.
He said it had been “an honour and privilege” to hold the office and thanked councillors and staff for their support and hard work.
He paid particular tribute to his deputy, Adrian Winnington, for his backing during the coronavirus crisis when Mr Bishopp had to spend long periods shielding.
The town council’s annual general meeting will take place this Wednesday, May 5, via Zoom, from 6pm.