PLANS to move Leeds’s main tourist office from its central railway station location to a ‘desk under the stairs’ at the city’s art gallery have been slammed.
Leeds Visitor Centre - which sees 2,000 people pass through its doors every day - could be moved as the council bids to save money on rent. The upcoming redevelopment of the railway station is expected to send rents shooting up.
But supporters of the centre say the move would be counterproductive, especially as the city prepares for a post Tour de France tourism boom.
The YEP understands staffing numbers are also being cut, with several long-term casual staff already laid off.
A source told the YEP staff were “heartbroken” by the plans.
“We are the third busiest tourist office in the UK,” the source said,
“It said in the original review that they wanted to increase footfall, but how many people go in the art gallery?
“We will not be selling theatre ticket, bus tickets, megabus or short breaks anymore.
“We had people queuing out of the doors over the Tour De France weekend and people were saying ‘what a lovely tourist office’.”
Objectors have been making their feelings known on social media.
One Facebook commenter, Alison Taylor, said: “This is truly a ridiculous decision. At one time the office was tucked away in a basement on Wellington Street. It was a genius move to relocate to the station where the number of visitors is phenomenal. This is a step back into the past.”
Robert Dyson added: “On the one hand Le Grand Départ - on the other this crazy decision to move the visitor centre to a place where it will not be visited by many. Perhaps Leeds City Council could be asked to compare the footfall on the two sites?”
A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: “Leeds is a vibrant, dynamic city with a wealth of attractions and we want to ensure that we have the right services in place to help visitors, as well as residents, enjoy all that our world class city has to offer. We have carried out a review of the function and activities of the Leeds Visitor Centre and will be taking our recommendations to the council’s executive board to consider in July.”
The YEP understands the move could take place by November.