Alternative TIC sites are being investigated

Berwick's tourist information centre could be on the move again in time for the start of the 2018 visitor season.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 8:06 am
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 8:07 am
Berwick Library.

It is understood a new venue which is more visible to arriving tourists is being sought.

The issue was raised by local resident John Gardiner at a meeting of Berwick Town Council.

He called on members to lobby Northumberland County Council for the service to be relocated to more suitable premises.

The tourist information centre is currently based in the council’s Walkergate building alongside the library.

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Mr Gardiner said: “I would suggest that the tourist information centre has a chance to relocate to what was the Town House restaurant and coffee shop in the town hall.

“It would regenerate the whole of the town by bringing tourists into its heart.

“There are public toilets nearby and tourists would flow all around the town rather than at one end.

“Berwick Freemen are the owners of the building and it may be possible to negotiate a lease that suits both parties.”

Town clerk Gareth Davies revealed that Northumberland County Council is in the middle of a complete review of all tourism services.

He explained: “The head of service responsible for tourism is aware that there is general dissatisfaction with the location of the existing tourist information centre and he is aware that we have canvassed a number of potential alternative locations.

“I did speak to a senior representative of the Freemen who made us aware of the availability of the premises in the town hall.

“We are also speaking to the freeholders of another property in Berwick which has been widely canvassed as being suitable for use as a TIC.

“Part of the problem is that the county council’s review has to be county-wide so, in a sense, we are waiting for them to come up with general principles and then we can speak to them directly about what the Berwick offer is to be.”

A meeting was also held last week with representatives of various organisations about pedestrian signage and routing around the town.

“My gut instinct is that TICs should be where tourists arrive in the town and they don’t arrive at the town hall,” said Mr Davies. “They arrive at car parks and railway stations and if you have to put up half-a-dozen signs telling them how to get to the TIC you end up with exactly the same problem we have got now with the TIC on Walkergate off the main pedestrian routes.

“We hope to have some good news soon in terms of a better tourism offer for the 2018 season.”