Ottery St Mary’s Tourist Information Centre set to close

Phyllis Baxter is retiring as manager of Ottery's Tourist Information Centre (pictured with town cri

Phyllis Baxter is retiring as manager of Ottery's Tourist Information Centre (pictured with town crier Laurie Palmer at town's celebrations for the Queen's 90th birthday) . Ref sho 24-16SH 8151. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Long-term community stalwart pays tribute to town on her retirement

Ottery’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) is to close its doors next week - marking the end of an era for the town.

Long-term community stalwart Phyllis Baxter will retire from her position on Friday, July 8, prompting the decision to permanently shut the Broad Street premises.

The move by the town council comes well ahead of the facility’s planned relocation into the new library building – formerly NatWest Bank – which will host a volunteer-led tourist information service when it is renovated.

The date for this is yet to be confirmed and in the meantime a publicly accessible service will cease to exist.

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Described as the ‘heart and soul’ of the town, Phyllis has been a welcoming face for visitors, newcomers and residents for 13 years.

She said: “I have enjoyed my time meeting people from all over the world. People are usually delighted to see a tourist information centre open - but surprised.

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“The town is changing and a lot of people say when they move to Ottery how wonderful it is to have such a thriving town centre with so many shops. You can walk around the town and receive a very warm welcome. Ottery is a super town and it is the people who make it.”

Although retiring as manager of the TIC, Phyllis will continue as a volunteer events coordinator and will keep an office in the town council offices where she can be contacted by phone.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said: “Phyllis has been a tremendous asset for the town and I have had a great deal of support from her.”

He confirmed money saved on the town council-funded TIC will be ploughed into the new library project, which will incorporate public toilets, as well as tourist information services.

The authority spent £139,500 of public funds on the former NatWest Bank building, in Silver Street, in September 2015, but renovation work has been stalled while a final agreement is reached with Libraries Unlimited – which will be running the facility.

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