Eviction blow for tourism group

ONE of the main organisations behind the revival of Hucknall has been stripped of its prominent High Street base.

The eviction is a setback for the go-ahead Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group (HTRG), which is run by volunteers and aims to raise the profile of the town.

The group was originally based at Hucknall Library on Market Place. But early last year, it was able to take advantage of a trailblazing scheme that provided community groups with the chance to take on disused premises for free.

The tourism group was allowed to open up in the landmark Watson Fothergill building (pictured), which is next to the Greggs store. The building previously housed the Coffee Tavern, a cobbler’s and then a computer-games shop next to the current Greggs store.

Funding came from a pot administered by Ashfield District Council to tidy up the building and close off a side alleyway that had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

What started off as a short-term agreement, while the landlord looked for paying tenants, stretched to fully 17 months.

Now the premises are set to be re-opened as a shop, forcing the tourism group to leave.

However Sheila Robinson, of HTRG, is far from downbeat. Instead she and her colleagues are looking to launch a new headquarters in the town centre in the future.

“Initially we only moved to the High Street building while the library was undergoing a refurbishment,” said Sheila. “It is a wrench to leave. We had a tremendously high footfall while we were there, with up to 500 people a month dropping in.

“We had visitors from as far afield as Australia and China coming in for advice on attractions in Hucknall. It was in an ideal position.”

HTRG is now back in the library and has an area manned from 10 am to 4 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 am to 12.30 pm on Sundays.