Councillors Not Consulted Over Scilly TIC Move Plan

tourist information office signThe Council chairman has warned that the public must be consulted over plans to move the Tourist Information Centre from the Steamship offices to the new Porthcressa shelter or amenity building.

Mike Hicks, a former Chairman of the Steamship Company, told the Policy and Resources committee that the present site on Hugh Street is, “accessible and prominent.”

He told councillors that he felt that Community Safety Partnership’s plans to provide an internet café in the former Schiller shelter had been “hijacked” overnight. That proposal would have given younger islands, “a purpose in life” so they wouldn’t have to hang around the Co-op at night, he said.

The original shelter was demolished to make way for the regeneration of Porthcressa, which Mike pointed out, had received criticism. He wanted the public and tourism industry to have a say on the use of the building. A TIC office was hosted in the former shelter.

Mike said he wanted to show the community that councillors, “do care and do listen.”

He added that he didn’t want this to, “develop into another source of aggravation for the Council.”

Council vice chairman Amanda Martin accepted there had been confusion with the Council report on the matter, which referred to a, “possible’ consultation.” There would be one, she said.

But members didn’t feel informed about the plan.

Cllr Dudley Mumford felt consultation should have started with councillors. He said he was “surprised” to read about the suggested move and Mike Hicks claimed he had only known about it for 36 hours.

Cllr Richard McCarthy wanted to know whether the Tourism Partnership were in the loop as they were likely to be taking over the TIC function. Richard was told they would be consulted but he was advised that the Council pays for the TIC at the moment.

Amanda Martin stressed that the idea was still just a proposal and that, “the decision has not yet been made.”

Chief planner, Craig Dryden said the TIC was out of its lease with the Steamship Company and that they needed to move quickly.

A new TIC would use around one-third of the shelter space. Sharing the use would help with security and reduce running costs. It could also mean that the showers in the new building could be open for longer.

Cllr McCarthy felt that made sense and he was assured that there would be disabled access.

The proposed move is part of a Council cost-saving exercise. Cllr Martin explained that the Authority needs to save money and rationalise assets. She said there needed to be greater scrutiny of acquisitions and that there had not been enough consultation over the Council’s use of buildings in the past.

The Council auditors asked for an asset management plan but the meeting revealed that it wouldn’t be completed within the April 1st timeframe.

Director of finance Peter Lawrence Roberts explained that it was better to take longer to produce the blueprint rather than do it quickly and have to change it later.

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