Farewell to Diss tourist centre stalwart Doreen

Doreen Collins

Doreen Collins

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A long-serving Diss Tourist Information Centre (TIC) officer paid tribute to the support of visitors this week, after the controversial announcement the office will move at the end of the year.

The TIC, a fixture in Mere’s Mouth since October 1989, will close on December 31 and relocate to the Corn Hall, but none of the current staff are set to be carried over following the change.

Diss Tourist Information Centre

Diss Tourist Information Centre

The move, which will see South Norfolk Council hand over responsibility of the service to Diss Town Council, was explained as necessary due to a lack of resources to run the existing site — but the plan has been met with significant opposition since being announced in September.

Doreen Collins, who has been a part of the Diss TIC for all 27 years of its operation and completed her last official day on Monday, said the last few weeks had been “an upsetting and stressful time”, but she was thankful their service had been appreciated by so many people over the years.

“Unfortunately, the provision and promotion of tourism is not a statutory requirement, which seems bizarre when it is constantly stated that tourism is the fastest growing industry in the UK,” she told the Diss Express.

“The centre is not the first or indeed will not be the last to close but I have felt privileged to have been associated with the office since it opened in October 1989.

The thousands of visitors, from all over the world, have been appreciative of the information and advice they have received, which in turn has helped to support the local economy

Doreen Collins

“The thousands of visitors, from all over the world, have been appreciative of the information and advice they have received, which in turn has helped to support the local economy.

“I do hope that once the ‘i’ symbol disappears from our maps, visitors will still be able to find and enjoy the market town of Diss.”

Opponents of the change have claimed the present TIC is in an ideal, central position in Diss, and that relocating it further up the town could potentially make it difficult to access for elderly people or those struggling with limited mobility.

However, the town council previously stated it was hopeful that moving the TIC into the Corn Hall, which is being refurbished as part of the £3 million Heritage Triangle regeneration, would help increase the footfall throughout the whole town centre.