Support for new Honiton TIC - but regret that council did not continue funding former hub in Lace Walk car park
PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 24 September 2018
The chairman of Honiton's former tourist information centre has thrown his weight behind the town getting a similar facility set up.
However, Colin Wright said had Honiton Town Council (HTC) continued to fund the former TIC in Lace Walk car park, the authority would have avoided the current headache it faces over where the new facility will be based.
Discussions are ongoing between the council and Allhallows Museum regarding the prospect of setting up a tourist hub there - despite deputy mayor Councillor Duncan Sheridan-Shaw signalling his preference for an empty unit in Lace Walk.
The empty shop previously housed outlet Light and Beloved and a greengrocers.
Mr Wright said: “It was unfortunate that HTC ceased the grant towards the TIC.
“With small funding, the offices would have remained open and the footfall of 15,000 to 20,000 people per annum would have remained. Visitors to the town can still be seen at the entrance of the old TIC and I feel that a real asset to the town has been lost.”
Bloodbikes charity Devon Freewheelers is currently operating from the former TIC building in Lace Walk car park after snapping up the lease in early 2017. At a town council meeting in October that year, founder Daniel Lavery revealed up to ten people per day were walking into the office seeking tourist information.
However, the issue was only addressed last month, when Honiton Town Council hosted its first town management committee meeting.
Members agreed that the council approach Allhallows Museum with a view to setting up a TIC at the building.
Mr Wright added: “HTC and the chamber of commerce are still endeavouring to attract visitors to this beautiful area.
“If it was not for their help, the TIC would have closed many years ago. I wish Margaret (Allhallows Museum curator) every success in taking on the TIC task and I am sure it will improve the footfall of the building.
“All the TICs nowadays rely on volunteers to manage them and this appears to the be the way forwards for most for the visitor centres in the Westcountry.
“The chamber of commerce is currently producing a 2019/20 Honiton Guide which will be available in the next few months.”