Axed tourism hub to display 'gigantic' mural while council seeks new tenant

Norwich's Tourist Information Centre

Norwich's Tourist Information Centre. - Credit: Archant

After the decision to axe Norwich's Tourist Information Centre (TIC) was confirmed last month, new plans have been announced about what will fill the empty space left behind.

The TIC had been based at The Forum since 2001 and was in operation until December 2020. In April, Norwich City Council said it would not be reopening - with the pandemic hastening the rapid decline of in-person visits to the TIC as more people get information online.

Although no jobs were lost in the closure, the now-gutted store has caused concern among people in the City.

EDP reader Linda Bambury said it was a "shame" visitors would no longer have access to a manned TIC - and that closed units only added to the "gloom" of passing empty retail shops such as Topshop and Debenhams. 

But Richard Smith, marketing manager for The Forum, has revealed that this won't be the case for much longer as a mural is planned for the expansive glass facade facing St Peter Mancroft Church.

End of an era for Norwich's Debenhams store

Debenhams in Orford Place Norwich has closed for the final time - Credit: Archant

He said: "The Forum has a long-term lease from Norwich City Council for the store, and we are in discussions with them about what kind of business or organisation can take over the unit long-term.

"But in the short-term, we really want to animate this unique and iconic space with artwork dedicated to the city. We are teaming up with Norwich Bid to commission local artists to do this, and plan to have a gigantic mural covering all 75sq metres of glass space."

He added: "It's a shame we had to lose the TIC, which was a fantastic presence in The Forum, but Norwich is not alone in getting rid of its physical information centres.

The Forum, a community building that houses restaurants, BBC East, Norwich Library, and information

The Forum in Norwich was the home to the Tourist Information Centre in Norwich for nearly 20 years - Credit: Abigail Nicholson

"Visit Norwich has done so much work on their website to keep people informed, while you can still pick up hard copies of the city tourism maps at the train station and bus station. There's also City tour guides who are still out in force."

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A city council spokesperson said: “There are still a number of organisations offering information about what’s happening in the city: including VisitNorwich, Arts Roundup and of course our local print and broadcast media.

“We are in negotiations with potential future tenants for the former Tourist Information Centre premises, and will confirm further details upon completion of any agreement.”