I MUST admit that I have mixed feelings about
the move by Nantwich Tourist Information Centre from their ideally-central
position on Nantwich Square (pictured below) to a part of the Civic Hall
about three hundred or so yards away in Market Street (also below).
Sometimes I think it is the worst
thing they ever did, other times I think
it will not be so bad - once everyone has got used to it. On those days I
think: Does the building have to be in the centre of town when visitors
are not beamed down there on the lines of Star Trek, but actually drive
into Nantwich from outside and park in one of the car parks, or alight at
the bus station or railway station - all still within the town centre.
In fact, visitors arriving by bus
or from the north or north west - from whence many on the tourist circuit
arrive from Chester - are ideally placed to get instant
they are already in Market Street or on the Civic Hall car park.
Of course, visitors arriving by
train, or from the east and south and parking their car on that side of
town, now have twice as far to walk as they did before. But I wonder how
many people going to any town or city expect the first building they reach
to be the Tourist Information Centre, from whichever direction they arrive?
Let me pause there to mention one thing that did make me chuckle. It is no
longer called the Tourist Information Centre! The powers-that-be
have, in their wisdom, decided that it should now be Visitor Information -
inside the Civic Hall, at any rate.
(But that might because other council departments are in the same area.)
The sign outside the hall is the one from Church Walk. As one of the ladies behind the desk explained: "You can be a visitor
without being a tourist". True, but I am a local without being either a
tourist or a visitor and I use the place and surely Tourist Information
Centre is what everyone knows these places as. There's always someone who
has to change things . . . !
The reason for the move, I
believe - although no-one has spelled it out as far as I know - is that
the Church Walk premises were leased while, of course,
the new location is already owned by Crewe and Nantwich
"There was no publicity about the
move," some people have said.
I e-mailed Elaine Dodd, the
Nantwich Town Centre Manager, the other day - about something else - and
mentioned the problems the move had caused. She replied: "Yes,
it will take time for the TIC to become recognised in its new location.
The Manager there is working also on replacement signage and I have
arranged the finger posts to be altered. Also, I am including items into
any marketing material I produce as appropriate.
That, presumably, is the new signage
(what's wrong with "sign"?!) above right. Finger posts correctly aligned
will help, too. But until visitors find the Visitor Information Centre
and pick up leaflets, how will they know where to find the Visitor . .
.? Presumably Elaine is talking about leaflets sent to other areas and
the CNBC website (even though that was still referring to the TIC as being in
Church Walk for a while after they moved!)
Actually, the local press carried reports about the progress of the
building work, and the Civic Hall was boarded up for a couple of months.
Also, several copies of the poster (centre) were put up on the front
of the building in the days before the staff left and they were still
"But no-one told me . . . "
I heard that one man turned up at
the theatre and, finding some members busy preparing for the next
production, said: "I can't find the Tourist Information Centre. Can I buy
production tickets here?" Sorry, no, was the reply. If only he had
known. The Civic Hall is the same distance from Church Walk as the theatre
is from the old TIC office - only in the opposite direction.
Maybe it will be easier next time
for him and everyone else. However, see the panel below
about TIC opening times.
DESPITE the earlier
confusion, Nantwich Players had sold all their tickets - for the whole
week - by the time the play opened. Patrons had been able to find the "box
office" after all.
2015 UPDATE: Nantwich Players' tickets
are now booked both at the Civic Hall and on-line via the Town Council's
tickets facility. (See What's On).
Borough Council (CNBC) who run the information
service, along with the one in Crewe.
My initial impression of the new
"home" of the information people was that it didn't seem to contain as
much information as the old place in Church Walk, which seemed to be
bursting at the seams with leaflets, booklets and videos. Of course, it
was early days when I called in at the Civic Hall and maybe the
leaflets, etc, will build up in time. One point, the space for
displaying posters about forthcoming events by local groups is not as
large as that in Church Walk which was virtually the whole of the
entrance foyer. Visitors want to know about local events during their
stay, you know!
think the Civic Hall information area is a little smaller than the space they had in
the other building. Not that I measured either.
In the Civic Hall, the helpful
team are situated between the borough council's
Nantwich Office (whose staff collect payments for the CNBC or give advice,
etc) and the entrance lobby to the Civic Hall main's hall used for
dancing, concerts, etc.
One of my interests is Nantwich
Players who use the Tourist Information Centre for the
booking of tickets for our productions - our box office. All very
convenient when the members couldn't staff a similar full-time service at
the theatre itself. But we have heard of patrons having difficulty finding
our tickets. Yes, they know where the Civic Hall is - they are locals,
after all - but many people don't seem to have realised the TIC have moved there.