PROTESTERS campaigned against the closure of Huddersfield Tourist Information Centre this weekend.
Stan Solomons and Eric Cooper paraded outside the centre in Albion Street with a placard that read “Save Our Tourist Centre.”
The two friends want Kirklees Council to change its mind about the scheduled closure in September.
So the two men spent most of Saturday morning asking locals to sign a petition against the move.
Kirklees council estimates the closure will save £44,000 in 2009/10 and £14,000 the following year by moving information services to the library.
Some 77,000 people were reported to have visited the tourist information office in 2008/09.
Mr Solomons said: “It could only be justified if the changes improved the service to the public.
“There’s a saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
“The centre has been operating well for many years and is used by thousands of people.
“It is handily placed at street level just off a busy thoroughfare near the civic centre, police station, register office and is convenient for the bus station.”
Mr Solomons said the library would not be suitable for elderly people who would have to climb several stone steps to access the building. Clr Christine Stanfield, cabinet member for regeneration, defended the plan at last week’s monthly council meeting.
She said: “It’s a misnomer to say it’s closing, it’s simply moving from its present site to the library and I think the library is a logical place for tourists to go.
“And the town hall is beautifully equipped and already sells tickets anyway.”
Protester Mr Cooper is publications and music and festivals officer of the National Association of Choirs.
He said he thought Clr Stanfield’s comments were ‘surprising’.
He added: “If she thinks that, why hasn’t she suggested closing down the Holmfirth tourist centre and moving it a few doors away to the library?
“Most towns of comparable size to Huddersfield have a tourist centre with windows and displays and a counter where people can buy tickets and ask for information.
“They don’t expect to go to one place for their tickets and another place for information. The council just hasn’t thought it through.”
Mr Solomons and Mr Cooper are urging local people to send letters to the town hall addressed to council leader Mehboob Khan.
Mr Solomons said: “We are hoping people power will persuade the Council that they have made a mistake.”