Ignoring old tourist centre as potential for new information hub could be regretted for 'years to come'
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 August 2019
Dismissing an idea to set up a new tourist information centre (TIC) in a former Honiton hub could be regretted for 'years to come', a town councillor has warned.
Cllr Roy Coombs said Honiton Town Council should draw up separate business plans for the former TIC in the Lace Walk car park building and a kiosk, also in Lace Walk, which has been proposed as the new facility.
The authority has been advised by town clerk Mark Tredwin that setting up a new TIC at the Lace Walk car park building could cost £25,000 annually.
At a town council meeting on Monday, August 12, Cllr Coombs said the old TIC building is 'purpose-built' and a business plan should be produced for it.
He said: "I think it is very fortunate it is back on the market again.
"I don't think we should just discount it, I believe there should be a business plan produced for both.
"I agree it will be more expensive, but it would then have more facilities as well."
Cllr Coombs said if the council does not explore the old TIC centre as an option, it would be a 'real missed opportunity' that the authority could regret for 'years to come'.
Mr Tredwin said there is a 'significant' difference in cost and footfall between Lace Walk car park and Lace Walk.
He said he would not want to do work that is 'not really proportionate', and he does not have the time to put together business plans together for both sites.
Mr Tredwin said if the figures do not 'stack up' when the council is at the final stage of looking at the Lace Walk kiosk, the authority may have to reinvestigate.
Cllr Kolek said she disagreed with Cllr Coombs and said visitors to the town are likely to use Lace Walk.
She said: "Once you come past Iceland and see it's a car park, you aren't really going to go much further.
"Unless you are actually being signposted to a building, it is essentially off the beaten track.
"I think the new location of the building that has been identified is a far better location than the previous one."
Cllr John Zarczynski said the old TIC building, which closed in early 2016, shut its doors because it had been making a 'slight loss' for an extended period of time.
Cllr Zarczynski said: "It was decided it was going to be shut down and brought back into the 21st century.
"Unfortunately, it never happened. We lost the building, the blood bikes (Devon Freewheelers) took it over."
The town council agreed a motion to look into setting up a TIC at the kiosk.