PETERSFIELD Town Council is looking at moving the Town Visitor Centre out of the library and into the Festival Hall.
The council has paid about £46,000 to keep the centre in the library in The Square open for the past year.
It is now looking at moving it into the Festival Hall at a cost of around £70,000 and expanding its role to include promoting ‘many other public services provided by the council.’
A report by the council’s office and committee manager Steve Field says the move would see the council ‘have full control of a service it funds,’ and enable ‘an economy of staff.’
He added: “It would be an opportunity to provide other retail and service opportunities, such as sports equipment hire, bicycle hire, tickets for Petersfield Museum, hovercraft tickets, and tickets for the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, as well as tickets for excursions to Queen Elizabeth Country Park and the Gilbert White Museum in Selborne.
“Long-term savings would be made, and with a wider range of local products, and an online presence, profits from retail sales would potentially increase.”
The report adds there is little or no parking by the library, but there is a 200-space car park next to Festival Hall, which would make it easier for visitors to use the centre.
Historically the centre was based in the library and run by Tourism South East (TSE), which in turn was paid by East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) to do it.
But about this time last EHDC said it was stopping its £47,000 a year funding to TSE, saying it wasn’t money well spent, and it could be spent in more effective ways to attract tourists.
Within days of the announcement, the town council agreed to fund the centre for a year, saying it provided a vital service for the town and visitors.
But it also insisted there would be a review of the centre and its services at the end of the year.
Now the town council is considering a range of options for the centre, including stopping the funding, keeping it in the library, or moving it into the Festival Hall.
The hall move would be after a major refurbishment of the 1930s building.
If it goes ahead, it is hoped the centre would have more ‘input towards, and be central to, town events.’
And centre staff would work toward promoting the image of the town as a great destination to live, work and visit.