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.
“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.”