Retail offer at Berwick TICis scaled down

Retail stock levels at Berwick Tourist Information Centre (TIC) have been drastically reduced by Northumberland County Council.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 7:14 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:37 am
Berwick TIC.

Concerns at the empty shelves were raised by a member of the public at Monday night’s meeting of Berwick Town Council.

A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: “Library and tourist information centre services have been joined up in communities across the county, in a move designed to retain and improve services, bringing them together with other facilities where possible, and developing them to meet the needs of residents and visitors in the future. Only seven per cent of tourists now physically go to a TIC, the majority find information online.

“It was agreed in March 2016 that retail goods at tourist information sites would be reduced or removed over the next 12 months and alternative methods of providing those services developed, including signposting customers to retailers on the high street.

“Retail goods have been a nice feature of TICs, but they are not always economically viable, and this change will allow staff to focus more time on helping customers rather than managing stock.

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“While the council is facing significant budgetary pressures, we are committed to retaining libraries and visitor information services.”

Meanwhile, the town council has called for proper signage to be put up to direct visitors to the TIC, now housed alongside the library on Walkergate.

Cllr Joe Lang said: “We should lobby the county council for proper signage so the footfall on the high street can find its way to the TIC.”

He suggested the street banner promoting the charter market should be advertising the TIC instead.

Cllr Eric Goodyer felt the decline of Berwick TIC’s retail offer was another example of how the town needed to establish its own destination management organisation to market and promote the town.