Relocation for tourism centre?

editorial image

Whitby may be retaining a tourist information centre 
under new plans being outlined by the borough council.

Two new possible options for the future of the building are being put to senior councillors at a meeting on Tuesday.

Previously it had been suggested that the centre at Dock End would be shut down, along with Filey and Scarborough’s TICs, as part of cost-cutting measures.

It currently costs £141,000 per year to operate the three services and for over £30,000 of that sum there is no budget provision.

Following a period of consultation, officers still recommend Filey and Scarborough close but alternatives have been suggested for Whitby.

The first suggestion is to approve marketing of a leasehold interest in the existing site for a term of 25 years or less. This would be for exclusive use of the entire site by the new leaseholder or, to include part of the site for a small TIC service and North York Moors National Park concession.

If the new leaseholder were to have exclusive use, then the current TIC will be moved to the Harbour Office. It will be manned seven days a week during summer (Easter until the end of October)and four days a week off peak.

In any case, the Customer First service will be re-located to the job centre and delivered in conjunction with the housing and benefits services.

A report being put before councillors says: “The Whitby Tourist Information Centre is the largest of the three TICs with a significantly higher footfall than any of the other sites, however, the current building is considered too large for the needs of the service.

“Due to the high level of footfall it is proposed to retain a face to face tourism presence within Whitby, however, it is considered that this could be done in a more cost effective manner.”

It costs around £50,000 a year to run the Whitby TIC and rental of the building could create income of up to £80,000 instead.

However, there are other legal implications associated with the lease and use of the building.

The national park holds a lease on part of the building until 2020 and can legally re main on site.

It is also now listed as an Asset of Community value after the town council stepped in. This means the borough council cannot sell the freehold or grant a lease for a period of over 25 years without a consultation period which allows certain community bodies the opportunity to purchase the property.