Campaigners condemn proposals to axe Fenland Tourist Information Centre

ANGRY campaigners have warned that losing Fenland’s Tourist Information Centre would deal a killer blow to the district.

More than 30 tourism stakeholders condemned Fenland District Council’s proposal to withdraw the TIC and replace it with a website at an emergency meeting in Wisbech earlier this month.

Brian Payne, chairman of the Wisbech Society, took charge of the meeting at the Octavia Hill Birthplace House.

He said: “The experienced staff are providing a service not just for the people of Wisbech but for people all over the country who want to come and visit the town.

“If they were to go it would incense the people of Wisbech. The town is gradually losing its resources one by one - the courthouse and the registry office have already been taken away from us.”

But a council spokesman said the proposals were designed to strengthen the tourist information service. As well as an accessible website, the council “envisage information points” in Fenland’s four one stop shops.

A tourism officer would remain at the council with another staff member responsible for keeping information up to date and supporting the shops.

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The spokesman said: “Our new approach involves moving away from an over-reliance on one centre in Wisbech and increasing the number of places where information can be obtained. “Far from killing the district, this new approach puts a much greater focus on attracting new visitors into Fenland by highlighting and promoting the many attractions we have here. It also gives a greater role and more opportunities to the private sector.

“All this demands some restructuring of staff within the council. Consultation on that process is currently under way.”

Mr Payne urged a decision on the TIC to be deferred until after the election and challenged candidates to offer their support for the campaign to protect it.

He said: “Here we have something that is crucial to the tourist industry of the Fens and brings in a tremendous amount of money.

“They want to move it all to the website but all that’s going to do is win another award for the council. It won’t help the people of the Fens and it certainly won’t help the people of Wisbech.”

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