A new start for the new year is on the cards for Devon Freewheelers with a six year end to their tenancy on Durham Way at the Heathpark Industrial Estate. On the year of their tenth anniversary, the Charity is going through some major changes and in doing so have decided to move out of the former Tourist Information Centre in Lace Walk Car Park and their industrial unit, to bring everybody back under one roof.
Unfortunately, a joint venture with Honiton Town Council to support tourism in the town at the former TIC as it was known, never materialised. In the early days, Daniel Lavery could foresee the benefit of a physical tourism presence in Honiton and approached the Town Council with a proposal of keeping the Tourist Information Centre alive, with their staff manning it on a daily basis. A meeting was held between Dan and councillors and it was hoped some of the tourism budget that was available at the time could be used to secure the project. Although the idea was officially received and welcomed by the Honiton Town Council, the support eventually disapperared along with any offer of funding and financial assistance.
Visitors still to this day visit the former Information Centre and since its closure, Devon Freewheelers have done their best to assist them with information and directions to wherever it is that they were trying to get to. The decision to close the town centre hub was a difficult one but in an effort to bring his team back together, Daniel Lavery has announced 'The Hub' is to go. "It's a fantastic opportunity for someone" says Dan.
"When we bid on the East Devon District Council property, there was a lot of interest and I am aware of several people who had submitted an interest in the property when we were fighting for it. It's a little gold mine for a small business, maybe a cafe or a community engagement facility. One of our volunteers suggested a classic cream tea venue, people parking their cars, shopping in the town then finishing off with a proper cream tea before they go - I reckon that is a great idea. For us however, own team has been split between two locations and we all want to be back under one roof."
It is planned to close The Hub early next year. Dan says "Anyone who's interested can get in touch, I know it won't take long for someone else to jump in here, we've done all that had to be done, it's clean dry and warm and has gauranteed footfall in the middle of the town's biggest car park. As far as tourism goes, the american visitors looking to go on a 'lace walk' has always made me smile, and at the same time wonder; why haven't we got one."