Plans to close tourist information centre

View - The Kings Head, Market Square, Aylesbury
View - The Kings Head, Market Square, Aylesbury

A report has recommended closing Aylesbury’s Visitor Information Centre.

Aylesbury Vale District Council, which currently runs the centre, is proposing to close it because of ongoing declining footfall.

The information centre is based at the King’s Head pub in Market Square, and under the plans it could be shut in March next year.

The report, prepared for the district council’s cabinet, says that ‘footfall and enquiries have been falling year on year since 2011.’

Between April and September this year 5,566 people have visited the centre, compared with 10,448 during the same months in 2012.

The report blames the economic downturn, the closure of other shops on the King’s Head site and changing ways of getting information, for example the internet, for the reductions.

Labour councillor for Southcourt Mark Bateman said: “I am aware of the proposals and my reaction is that it is not good for the county town of Buckinghamshire to have no information centre.

“I believe it is all about chopping money off the council’s budget and it is a shame that they are having to go down the route.”

Other options suggested for the Visitor Information Centre include handing over the service to Aylesbury Town Council.

If this did happen it would replicate the situation in nearby Buckingham, where control of the centre was handed to the town council in 2010/11 due to budget cuts.

The report adds that the majority of services offered by the centre are available at other outlets in Aylesbury.

There are a number of services that would be either completely lost or partially available if the centre closed.

These would be the sale of tickets for events, the sale of Aylesbury related merchandise such as Aylesbury duck mug and tea towels, bookings for local accommodation and information on holidays available in the UK.

Lyndsay Purdie, senior communications and marketing officer at the district council said: “The report about 
the Aylesbury Visitor Information Centre explains the outcome of a detailed review which shows that the VIC 
isn’t meeting its core purpose of assisting visitors to the 
area.

“Research shows that users of the centre have reduced by almost 50% since 2012, as visitors increasingly seek information in alternative ways.

“However, it is for cabinet to consider all of the identified options in the report and reach a decision.”