Whitby’s Tourist Information Centre is set to be closed as a cost cutting measure by the borough council – despite tourism being the town’s biggest cash spinner.
It is being branded as a cynical and short-sighted move by the Whitby and District Tourism Association and Whitby Town Council who are now fighting to save the centre.
It is feared the building at Dock End will be sold to a multi-national fast food outlet such as McDonalds or KFC.
Tourist information centres in Scarborough and Filey are also earmarked for closure at a meeting set to be held by the council cabinet on December 15. The last day to lodge an objection to the proposals, which are only now being made public, is December 23.
Town councillor John Freeman, also chairman of the Whitby and District Tourism Association, said it was a cynical way to “push a done deal through” the week before Christmas, leaving little time to object the plans.
He said: “The Whitby and District Tourism Association see this action as extremely short-sighted which does not truly value the role of a healthy TIC in one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.
“Without tourism Whitby would be in dire straights economically.”
Relocating or downsizing the tourist information service has been ruled out, as has the possibility of sharing the building with a paying tenant.
It appears that the Customer First council services that were re-located from Skinner Street when those council offices closed down will also be lost.
The face-to-face service will be replaced by a phone line and visitors to the town will have to get their information from electronic boards which will be installed around town.
Whitby Town Council has called an emergency public meeting to discuss the looming closure and its consequences.
It is set to take place on the evening of Tuesday December 8.
Hazel Peace, West Cliff resident said: “When you go into the tourist information centre there arequeues of people. I am sure a lot of these queries would not be satisfied by an information board.”