Preston’s Visitor Information Centre is being turfed out of the Guild Hall as the venue’s revamp continues.Advertisement
Tourists will now need to visit the Town Hall where the information point is being combined with the existing front desk.
The move is with immediate effect and could save Preston City Council up to £80,000 a year.
New Guild Hall owner Simon Rigby, who bought the venue for £1 from the city council during the summer, plans to turn the former tourist information unit into a new Italian restaurant and wine bar.
Villa Italian will be an extension of Mr Rigby’s other Villa restaurants and the wine bar is to be called Review.
Planning permission for both ventures is already secured.
No staff roles at the visitor information centre are due to be affected, no redundancies are planned.
Simon Rigby said: “The Guild Hall goes from strength to strength. The whole team is working flat out to create an experience that Preston can be proud of. We’ve already made a whole host of improvements to the Guild Hall and we have some big announcements to make on our events programme for 2015.
“As part of our ambition to be Lancashire’s premier entertainment venue, we are investing over one million pounds in our new ‘Villa Italian’ restaurant and ‘Review’ wine bar. Work starts next month and when it’s finished, guests will enjoy first class food and drink in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
“When I took over ownership of the Guild Hall I promised not only to re-invigorate the venue but also to save money for the taxpayers of Preston. I am delighted that moving the Visitor Information Centre will not only allow the Guild Hall to flourish but will also save £80,000 a year for the taxpayer. Who could argue with that?”
Councillor John Swindells deputy leader of the city council, said: “The £1m transformation of Preston Guild Hall under Simon Rigby’s ownership is really gathering pace. A new Italian restaurant and wine bar is next, which will be great additions to Preston’s growing restaurant and night time economy.
“We need to re-locate the Visitor Information Centre to make way for these exciting developments. By moving a short distance across the road to the Town Hall we can continue to provide a Visitor Information service and allow the Guild Hall to blossom.
“What’s more is that we can save taxpayers up to £80,000 a year by merging the visitor information service with our Contact Centre. This is another example of the benefit of transferring the Guild Hall to a successful local business.”
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