Woodbridge: Tourist information services resume in library

Doreen Savage

Doreen Savage - Credit: Archant

A SUFFOLK town’s tourist information service is today set to resume in new surroundings following a shake-up of services.

Last November, Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) voted to relocate Woodbridge tourist information centre (TIC) from the railway station to the library, against opposition from many customers and staff, in order to save money in the face of Government cuts.

From today, services will be conducted from Woodbridge Library, where staff will offer information to visitors and help with online rail ticket enquiries or bookings. The old site, which closed at the end of January, will still be manned but will no longer sell rail tickets.

The move was met with disapproval from the town council, which officially opposed the move, and from those who said they relied on its rail ticketing services.

Council customer service staff will now be on hand five days a week at the library – from 10am to 4pm on Monday, 9.30am to 5.30pm on Tuesday and 9am to 5pm from Wednesday to Friday, although some tourist information will be available on a “self-service” basis at weekends. In line with the library’s opening hours, the service will not be open on bank holidays. Meanwhile, the council’s online service is available 24 hours a day at suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/tourism and thesuffolkcoast.co.uk.

Doreen Savage, SCDC cabinet member for customers and communities, said it made sense to have services based at the heart of the Woodbridge community and would help establish the library as the one-stop-shop for people to visit, as well as complement the customer service outlet at Melton Hill.

She added: “When we adopted our new customer access strategy last year we made it clear that we were committed to making our services more available to our residents. We are working hard to ensure that we improve our online service delivery but, at the same time, this additional new service shows that having face-to-face contact with one of our staff remains central to what this council will offer.”

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Last year SCDC revealed that it was costing the council money for each ticket sold over the counter at the TIC. Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for economic development and leisure, said the move showed the council was ready to meet the changing demands of today’s tourists as well as making savings.”

However, Woodbridge county councillor Caroline Page, who opposed the move, said: “People needed the tourist information centre. It was felt that no one was properly consulted and that their views were not regarded important.

“It will be difficult for people who don’t go straight to a computer for their business. For people visiting Woodbridge, the station used to be a welcoming first port of call.”