Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Richmond TIC to close after only seven months with new management
A TOURIST information centre has closed after only seven months under new management because it was not making enough money.
Richmondshire Leisure Trust (RLT) took over Richmond Tourist Information Centre (TIC), based in Friary Gardens, in August last year and had plans to include a Starbucks coffee service, washing facilities for walkers and an internet cafe.
Manager of the trust Austin Gordon said the trust could no longer afford to run the volunteer-run service.
“We are working with Richmondshire District Council to find a solution but it will have to close for hopefully only a short period of time,” he said.
“The board felt that looking at the accounts was not doing as well as expected – we took over last summer and it was very quiet because of the wet weather.”
Richmond Mayor Stuart Parsons said: “We are hugely disappointed to hear it is closing and we will be working with the district council to ensure it re-opens quickly and provides the best service possible.
“There will be a solution found because there has to be.”
Richmondshire District Council said an interim solution will be put in place until a new operator is found and will re-open on Saturday, March 23 under these arrangements.
District council leader John Blackie said: “The business plan the RLT put forward sounded impressive so we are very disappointed to hear that the trust has decided to pull out, especially so close to the Easter holiday.
“The council felt it was offering an excellent opportunity for the right business, but we understand the trust considers operating the TIC is not a realistic proposition after all.”
In the interim he said that the TIC will re-open operated by a team of volunteers who will run the information service and the associated network of Richmond tour guides. Volunteer Hilda Ellis said: “I have been working in the TIC since the 1990s and myself and the other 17 volunteers are very sad to see it close – it provides such an important service.”
Coun Blackie added: “I thank the volunteers for their commitment to continue their excellent service in the interim period.
“We will be advertising the building again as a business opportunity, and will consider all plans put forward which may or may not include operating the TIC.
“If the new operator does not want to take on the TIC, it will be offered to a host organisation that has a premise available in or near Richmond Market Place.”
He said he expected to see a new operator in place no later than the May Spring Bank Holiday.