THE finishing touches are being put to what will soon become the town’s new Visitor Information Centre.
The new town council-run facility, which replaces the redundant building in Ashbourne’s Market Place, will be more spacious and has been designed specifically for the purpose of providing visitors and residents alike information on the town, its facilities and details of where to visit and where to stay in the wider area.
The new centre, which is at the rear of Ashbourne Town Hall and is accessible through Town Hall Yard, is due to be officially opened on Saturday at 10am by the town’s Mayor Steve Bull.
New signs directing people to the centre’s newly-adapted glass frontage and double doors will be placed at the front of the town hall and the task of fitting out the new area is running on schedule.
Many of the fixtures and fittings for the centre are being brought over from the Market Place building and the original staff are also due to make the move across the road.
The creation of the new facility has seen a large investment by Ashbourne Town Council as part of its wider plan to revamp parts of the historic town hall, along with a £10,000 handout from Derbyshire Dales District Council to help pay for the extensive alterations that were required to install equipment and extra toilet facilities which will be available for public use.
Town councillor and Visitor Information Centre Committee chairman Jon Barrs said he was looking forward to its opening and was pleased it would be ready in time for half term.
He told the News Telegraph: “As a tourism-led economy, we need to have somewhere where we can find out about the area and what it has to offer, which is why the town council took it on.
“We could have taken on the original building but it makes more sense to have it here in the town hall.
“We want to make more use of an important public building and, at the same time, we want to make it more communal than we have before.”
The upgrades carried out, by building firm Wright and Holmes, are running alongside an extensive makeover in other parts of the building which will see modifications to the lower hall and other facilities in the building.
Derbyshire Dales District Council decided to close its Tourist Information Centres and replace them with Visitor Information Points in December 2011 and at one stage it looked like Ashbourne would be served by little more than a leaflet stand.
But the town council struck a deal in late 2012 which secured its future in the town.