A Suffolk seaside town is set to get a new tourist information centre, which will share a premises with a craft shop, despite concerns taxpayers' money is being used to fund the venture.

Southwold Town Council is planning to create the new centre in the building currently occupied by Craftco, in the town's Market Place, with the aim to enable visitors to be able to speak to tourist representatives in person.

Currently, the town has visitor information points at a number of locations, which stock leaflets and guides providing details about useful places to visit.

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These are based at Southwold Library, Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom and at the town's Post Office.

Southwold town councillor David Beavan said the plan was for the new centre to be situated upstairs in the Craftco building, which is an outlet for contemporary crafts and applied arts from East Anglia.

East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor David BeavanCouncillor David Beavan (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

He added: "We ran a very successful market stall last summer, telling people what was on locally. We feel that a permanent welcoming presence in the High Street could be a good idea for tourism.

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"Visitors often like to get the local low down in person.

"It is also always nice to be available to speak to people as their councillor in person."

However, the plans have sparked concern that money was being spent on the project when the centre could have been housed instead in newly-developed office space in the town, which would have saved money.

A Southwold businessman, who did not wish to be named, said: "This seems like an outrageous waste of taxpayers' money, especially when Southwold Town Council pushed so hard to build offices that nobody wanted and these offices will be manned and staffed permanently. 

"Why are they not locating tourist information there, especially as it’s at the entrance to the town, near a car park and in a very prominent position?"