CIVIC chiefs fear the proposed new location for Malvern’s tourist information centre will not capture the attention of visitors and not be prominent enough in the heart of the town.
Clive Hooper, chairman of Malvern Civic Society, made the claims after the district council revealed it had entered talks with Great Malvern Priory about moving the TIC from Church Street into Lyttleton Well’s parish office.
The future of the TIC’s location has been up in the air since the start of 2017 when the district council revealed it wanted to move the service into a new £950,000 community centre on Avenue Road.
Those plans stalled in May 2017 after the authority found out Priory Lodge had been made a listed building.
The civic society opposed the proposal to move the TIC to Avenue Road and have now expressed their concerns over its potential move to Lyttleton Well.
“Lyttleton Well is certainly in a better location than Avenue Road but it is not as prominent in town than the TIC’s current location,” said Mr Hooper.
“I would have thought the space at Lyttleton Well would be very limited too and it would not be possible to display things in the same way the current one does.
“I also think the new location would not capture the eye of visitors to the town.”
As part of the proposed deal to move the TIC into Lyttleton Well, the district council would pay rent on the building and remain responsible for employing staff.
If a deal is reached then the changes would be made early next year.
Coun David Chambers, leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said the authority wanted to keep the TIC in the town centre area and an agreement with Great Malvern Priory and Lyttleton Well would be ‘hugely beneficial’ for everyone.
“With more people going online to plan their days out and ‘staycations’ there is inevitably less demand for a physical TIC,” he said.
“However, tourism is a priority for us and we want to maintain face-to-face provision in the town as well as the excellent service provided by our TIC staff who co-ordinate information for the whole of The Malverns.
“We appreciate this is an unsettling time for our staff and thank them for their continued hard work and commitment.”
The authority needs to make changes to the TIC as it is unsustainable in its current form, particularly as the council needs to save £1.45million from its budget by 2021 due to Government funding cuts.