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Plans for Lavenham village hub with Post Office moves step closer

PUBLISHED: 17:38 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:38 12 July 2018

 Lavenham Tourist Information Centre. Picture: DON BLACK

Lavenham Tourist Information Centre. Picture: DON BLACK

Plans for Lavenham’s Tourist Information Centre to be safeguarded and developed into a village hub with a Post Office have moved a step closer, after approval was given for talks to begin.

The centre in Lady Street is set to be closed in October this year after Babergh District Council opted to axe its traditional information centres.

Lavenham Parish Council expressed an interest in taking over the site, with a plan to retain tourist information services as well as bring a Post Office back.

This morning’s Babergh’s cabinet agreed its new visitor information plan, which included an agreement in principle to either lease or sell the space to the parish council.

Carroll Reeve, chairman of the parish council, said: “The whole thing as far as we are concerned is it is going to be a very positive thing.

“From a residents point of view we have a mobile Post Office that comes Monday and Friday afternoon.

“There are 300 jobs that depend on tourism in Lavenham alone and it does need a tourism centre which will be opening up areas supporting Sudbury and Long Melford.”

Mr Reeve said he recognised there may be an initial cost to the taxpayer, but said the council was working on limiting this impact.

Babergh’s resolution also agreed in principle to a reduced lease rate for the parish council, although it is not yet clear what this rate may be.

The council’s new tourism information has come about as a result of more information being online, which the cabinet said meant fixed tourist information centres were not needed, and features a network of points across the area where people can gain information.

The report said that there was “firm interest” from Suffolk Libraries in linking up with the scheme which would mean its mobile library and permanent libraries in the district could carry tourism information.

Council leader John Ward said: “The end result of this is going to be an information provision that is actually more comprehensive than what we have now but more flexible.”

He added: “It’s not just about retaining visitor information in Lavenham but everything else that will be important. Tourism is something we do desperately need to promote in Babergh.”

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