STAFF from Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre were given a fond farewell last Friday, as the office closed its doors permanently.
Trudi Robson, Miranda Horsfield and Fiona Common were presented with bouquets and thanked for their dedication and service at a socially-distanced gathering outside the Marine Theatre.
Dorset Council and Lyme Regis Town Council have said they are in “active discussions” about a future tourism service in the town, but the current office at Guildhall Cottage in Bridge Street has now closed.
The closure comes after Lyme Regis Town Council, which owns the building, terminated the lease for the Dorset Council-run Tourist Information Centre, as it plans to take over the space to expand its offices.
Dorset Council then ran a public consultation on the future of the Tourist Information Centre, saying its preferred option would be to close the facility, which costs £87,000 a year to run, and no longer provide a face-to-face service.
A total of 1,128 responses were received, mostly from individuals and some from local businesses and organisations. The responses showed “overwhelming” support for a continued face to face service. Many suggested the service should be run from the Jubilee Pavilion on Marine Parade instead.
The two councils have said they are now holding discussions again over the future of the service.
Since announcing the closure, LymeOnline has been inundated with comments from the public, describing it as “short sighted” and a “disastrous move for Lyme Regis”.
One wrote: “So wrong, so short sighted. Thanks to all the staff who work there – you have always been brilliant – helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and cheerful – you deserved better.”
Another commented: “Just crazy! Why is something like the Tourist information Centre not affordable in such a busy tourist town?”
The Tourist Information Centre has actually been closed to the public since lockdown restrictions came into place in March with staff working from home, but it was hoped the facility would reopen.
Tourism enquiries can still be made by calling 01297 442138 or emailing LTIC@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk