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Tourist info centre re-opens doors

Gosport's tourist information centre has re-opened following a deal between Gosport Borough Council and a local holiday business.

Maritime Heritage Tours, run by Mike Critchley, has taken over the centre and will offer local travel and tourism advice.

Until last month, the council paid a contractor to run the centre. This arrangement was ended by the council as way of saving public money. The new set-up is at no cost to the council.

The new-look centre, at Gosport's bus station, South Street, is open 9.15am to 1.15pm, Monday to Saturday, although these hours may increase.

Mr Critchley, a former Royal Navy officer who has written or published more than 100 naval books, lived in Gosport as a child and returned to the town five years ago.

He said: "Running a small tourism business here, I was initially concerned to see the tourist information centre close. As a council tax payer I now conclude it was the right move.

"We will provide as full a service as we can, adding in more as we go. We can offer information on local sights and attractions, and local public transport. We also have souvenirs and naval books for sale, and will be offering our own holidays.

"Until now our business has been run from my spare bedroom. We look forward to meeting old and new customers at our handy new bus station home and chatting over our plans."

Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Leader of the Council, said: "I'm delighted the council has been able to reach agreement with Mike to achieve this.

"It's a win-win for Gosport - the re-opening of the tourist information centre at no cost to the council tax payer.

"I wish Mike every success in his new venture and congratulate him on his public-spirited attitude in taking over the centre."

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