‘Stressed’ Ottery tourist information centre volunteers hopes for space solution

The new Ottery library. Ref sho 08-17TI 7782. Picture: Terry Ife

The new Ottery library. Ref sho 08-17TI 7782. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Spacing issues at Ottery Library have left tourist information centre volunteers feeling ‘stressed’ and unable to work – with one helper resigning due to working conditions.

The centre moved into the new library in Silver Street in February after leaving its former permanent home in July 2016, but volunteers have not even been able to unpack.

Councillor Josefina Gori said the premises would experience ‘teething problems’ which would take time to solve.

Phyllis Baxter, who has run the centre for more than 10 years, said she hoped there could be a resolution.

She told the Herald: “It is very stressful and it’s very difficult - there is no space for anything. We have boxes under the table because there is nowhere to store them and, to me, it’s not working.

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“Ottery is a great town and it needs a good information centre. I worked to build up what we have. We were promised a good place in the library.

“I do not go up there much, there is no incentive. I am a volunteer and would like to continue doing it. I have worked for years for this town.”

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Speaking at Monday’s town council meeting, mayor Glyn Dobson said the current set-up ‘is not working’, adding the council has approached Libraries Unlimited to discuss the issue.

He said: “I think we all know that the Tourist Information Centre is not working at the moment and we know the reason why; it’s up to us to try to get this space sorted.”

Cllr Gori said after the meeting: “The library is a brand-new enterprise and, as with everything new, there are teething problems that have to be solved and that takes time.

“It was agreed that the tenants would provide reasonable space for the TIC and their volunteers and, unfortunately, this has not been achieved and the space given to Phyllis is not appropriate for her to do her job properly.”

Libraries Unlimited, which leases the building from the town council, said it was ‘committed’ to finding a solution.

A spokeswoman said there were two rounds of public consultation on the layout, and the TIC area was placed in a ‘visible and prominent’ location next to the main desk – as agreed with the town council.

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