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Dismay at Woodbridge TIC closure

With tourism being so important to the Suffolk economy, it seems unbelievable that somewhere which advises visitors to the area should be closed, but this is what is happening at Woodbridge.

Suffolk Coastal Council intend to close Woodbridge’s Tourist Information Centre, next to the town’s railway station, on 3rd November.

According to the Council’s website:

The ever increasing demand for online services and its own tough financial situation means that Suffolk Coastal is proposing to close its Woodbridge Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on November 3 and is currently consulting with staff at that office about its plans.

The Council’s on-going review of all its services because of its need to save money following a reduction of over 30 per cent in its funding from Whitehall has spotlighted that the number of people going to its TICs and TICs up and down the country is declining.

“Our service review is focussed on making sure our services are as efficient as possible but also that they are still relevant and needed by our customers. The reality is that the use of our tourist services are changing, with more and more people going online for their information and fewer visiting our offices,” said Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Economic Development.

“Our Woodbridge TIC has particular issues as it is based next to the rail station and a great deal of time is spent selling tickets and providing transport information. However, recent changes mean that we lose a significant amount on rail ticket sales and we can no longer afford to provide this service.

“However, our commitment to encouraging tourism remains as strong as possible and our modernised service would see us still providing information from a new service based at Woodbridge library, backed up with internet-based information. The Council’s other two TICs at Aldeburgh and Felixstowe would continue to provide a full range of services including ticketing and booking facilities, and would offer telephone support and a postal service,” added Cllr Holdcroft.

The severe financial constraints facing the Council have left it no option other than to make tough decisions. It has committed itself to modernising its services to ensure that they still meet the needs of its customers but provide even better value for money to residents and so help balance its budget.

Over the last decade, the Council has successfully saved over £10 million, while still providing improved services to residents, thanks to pioneering innovations such as joint working with Waveney District Council which has seen the sharing of services and senior management.

“Tourism remains a key part of our local economy and we are confident that potential visitors to our district will continue to get the information they need to help them choose to come here and enjoy all our district has to offer.

“We will continue to offer fresh innovations to attract tourists such as our joint working with Waveney’s tourism service and with local tourism businesses and partnerships to offer a better service, our Suffolk Coast website and a planned app for people with mobile devices that will give them targeted information,” added Cllr Holdcroft.

The proposed closure is sadly another nail in the coffin for the Suffolk Coastal area, Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion Theatre looks set to close in early 2013 after the Council failed to get a new operator to take on the running of the building.

What do you think? You can comment below and register your views in the poll on www.woodbridge24.co.uk

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