After the decision to take down the Norwich Tourist Information Center (TIC) was confirmed last month, new plans were announced on what will fill the empty space left.
The TIC had been based at the Forum since 2001 and was operational until December 2020. In April, Norwich City Council said it would not reopen – with the pandemic accelerating the rapid decline in in-person visits to TIC as more in addition to people online information.
Although no jobs were lost as a result of the closure, the now emptied store has raised concerns among residents of the city.
Linda Bambury, EDP reader, said it was “a shame” that visitors no longer had access to a manned TIC – and that the closed units only added to the “gloom” of passing empty stores such as Topshop and Debenhams.
But Richard Smith, marketing director for The Forum, revealed that won’t be the case any longer as a mural is planned for the expansive glass facade facing St Peter Mancroft Church.
He said: âThe Forum has a long term lease from Norwich City Council for the store, and we are discussing with them what type of business or organization can take over the unit in the long term.
âBut in the short term, we really want to liven up this unique and iconic space with works of art dedicated to the city. We are teaming up with Norwich Bid to commission local artists to do this, and plan to have a gigantic mural covering the 75m2. meters of glazed space. “
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He added: âIt’s a shame we had to lose TIC, which was a fantastic presence at the Forum, but Norwich is not alone in getting rid of its physical information centers.
âVisit Norwich has done a lot of work on their website to keep people informed, while you can always pick up hard copies of the city’s tourist maps at the train and bus station. There are also city tour guides who are still active.
A city council spokesperson said: âThere are still a number of organizations offering information on what’s going on in the city: including VisitNorwich, Arts Roundup and of course our local print and broadcast media.
“We are in talks with potential future tenants of the former tourist office premises and will confirm more details to you at the end of any agreement.”