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Gloucester tourist information centre move under fire over costs

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

Judges Lodgings

Judges Lodgings

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MOVING a key hub for city prosperity into one of its prized buildings has been criticised by Labour politicians.

After Conservative-run Gloucester City Council revealed plans to spend £130,000 on renovating the Grade I Listed former Judges House in Westgate Street, opponents said it’s not the right place for a Tourist Information Centre.

And the cash shouldn’t be splashed when the council is about to make £3.8million of cuts, said Labour group leader Kate Haigh.

“I think the council has to look very carefully at where it is spending its money when there are major cuts ahead,” she said.

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“I don’t believe that the Westgate Street location is the best one and other locations in that area are equally or more suitable for a TIC and should be investigated.”

City council leader Paul James said the investment would be alongside money put in by the landlord and would be reflected in the rent.

The council wants to move the TIC from Southgate Street, and put it under the same roof as city promotion body Marketing Gloucester.

The former Winfield seed shop closed there in 1989 and was succeeded by Bookends book shop but the building has stood empty since it closed three years ago.

It is believed to be Britain’s finest example of a timber framed town house, built in 1542.

It was the Hall of the Grocers’ Guild in the 18th Century and used as the Judge’s House in the early 19th Century.

It is reputed to have been used by Colonel Massey while defending the city during the siege of Gloucester in 1643. It was also the town house of two well known Gloucestershire families – Guise of Elmore and Clifford of Frampton.

The new TIC and Marketing Gloucester office could be open by the Autumn. Mr James said it makes sense to move there.

“If they have alternatives, then they should put them forward,” he said. “They suggested the Golden Egg in King’s Square recently, which clearly wouldn’t be suitable.

“We have looked, and continue to look at all the options.

“I don’t believe there is anything out there in our ownership already that would work.”

“Putting it in Westgate Street will be good for traders’ footfall and is close to the major tourist destinations in the city.”

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8 comments

  • Kay_Powell  |  December 17 2013, 4:10PM

    That building is the Old Judge's House, not the Judges' Lodgings, which is is Spa Road.

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  • jas37  |  December 17 2013, 10:56AM

    I forgot to mention, of course what many then do is follow the signs from the Cathedral to the Docks down the alley and miss the Gate streets altogether.

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  • jas37  |  December 17 2013, 10:53AM

    According to the results of the City Council's own survey the Quays/Docks attract by far the largest number of visitors to Gloucester, the Cathedral is next. The majority arrive by car although as the recent Victorian Market demonstrated an increasing number arrive via Coach. The Coaches to the Quays drop off at the Quays, the Coaches for the Cathedral drop in Westgate. Only a small proportion would arrive via Public transport. Consequently the majority of tourists walk up from either Southgate street or Westgate street. Do you really see any point in them having to find King's Square?

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  • supernova1  |  December 17 2013, 10:51AM

    Either way, the Liebour argument is petty. The cost of the refurbs are just over 3% of the savings to be made. That said, it should be centrally located, easy to find etc. I don't know about other readers, but I've always found the best TIC's to be light and airy, easy to find etc, not some stuffy old buildings, that themselves could be on the tourist trail.

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  • Walker100b  |  December 16 2013, 11:46PM

    jas37, Richardburton made valid comments about thinking outside the box. Also King's Square IS central and the majority of people travelling to the city using public transport would almost inevitably pass through King's Square. You suggest "The majority of tourists wander up from either Southgate Street (from the Docks/ Quays) or Westgate street (from the Cathedral)"....so how do they get to the Cathedral to "wander up from it", the small car park at the bottom of Westgate?

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  • jas37  |  December 16 2013, 11:20PM

    Richardburton- Why would you want tourists to have to find King's Square to visit the TIC, it's the ugliest part of the City Centre. The majority of tourists wander up from either Southgate Street (from the Docks/ Quays) or Westgate street (from the Cathedral). Surely it makes sense to locate it in one of those streets. The TIC needs a permanent base, the current one is considered to be too small, especially as the Marketing Gloucester staff are due to be housed in the same building.

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  • Richardburton  |  December 16 2013, 8:26PM

    Perhaps we need to think outside the box... Why not have pop up's and put leaflets in all cafe's and educate the shopkeepers so if any one what's to know anything regarding Gloucester,shopping,cinema's etc. Are their leaflets at the bus station and train station? Perhaps if we need a shop we should have it in a cafe or in the kings square as it's central Just a thought!

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  • jas37  |  December 16 2013, 7:59PM

    The fact that one of the Councillors suggested moving the TIC into the Golden Egg building not only displays a total lack of ambition and abysmal judgement it proves that some are totally out of to touch with reality. Was this person one of the Labour Councillors that are objecting to the move to the Westgate street building ?

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