North Staffordshire’s biggest crowd puller left without tourist information centre

Residents have resorted to putting out pamphlets to promote their market town after a tourism information centre was temporarily shut.

The office in Leek is located in the Nicholson Institute building after being moved a few years ago from a prominent position in Market Place.

Now signs have been put up, stating the office is closed.

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Roger Warrillow, who lives near the building in Stockwell Street, said: “The tourist information centre is closed and was not open last year and not open now.

“Considering Staffordshire Moorlands District Council say that tourism is now our main industry in Leek and Moorlands, it’s very bad news for tourism.

“The promotion of Leek and district is a disgrace. Everywhere else in the country, the tourist information centres have been and are open.

“Living next door to the tourist information centre, I am always sympathising with visitors who are trying to get information about Leek and surrounding area, architecture, history, shops, eating establishments, accommodation and tourist attractions.

“There is a small table at the entrance of the library which I and others try to promote with pamphlets about Leek’s attributes.

“This is truly the disgrace of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s lack of support for all businesses in the area.”

Leek's tourist information centre
Leek’s tourist information centre

District and county councillor, Councillor Charlotte Atkins, said it was vital to the town to have the centre open.

She said: “Leek Tourist Office is a vital shop window for Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands. Many of our businesses rely on additional trade from visitors and the tourist office is where people go to pick up a map and information about what is happening in town.

“It is a disgrace that the district council has consistently undermined the work of the tourist office since it was moved from its prominent location on the Market Place, where people would expect to find it.

“Since it was hidden away within the Nicholson building, it has been out of sight and out of mind.

“This, along with the way the district council has wasted a large slice of the Welcome Back Fund on a local business promotion brochure that was never delivered, demonstrates their lack of support for our towns and their refusal to work with our proactive town councils.”

Councillor Andrew Hart, who has the responsibility for tourism at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: “We welcome millions of visitors to the Moorlands every year and we are proud to do so. It’s important that our tourism offer keeps pace with the way people live and how they access information and tourism services.

“Our focus is also very much on how best we can support all our businesses, and especially those in the hospitality and leisure sector, post-Covid so we can deliver long-term, sustainable growth in the value of the visitor economy.

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“That’s why we will be looking to engage an external, expert partner to undertake a thorough review of our tourism services and develop a strategy and action plan which deliver a modern tourism offer.

“A tender for this work will be advertised in the early part of this year.

“In the meantime, the tourist information assistance and guidance provided by the council continues.

“In line with national Government advice, the tourism staff are working from home and the TIC in Leek is currently closed, but the team continues to be available to help with inquiries and assist visitors.”

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