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Council support gives old bank a new lease of life

Kirkby Lonsdale’s new Visitor Information Centre

[K]irkby Lonsdale’s Visitor Information Centre has relocated to a larger building on a prime site in the centre of the town.

A grant and support from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has helped the company which runs the centre to refurbish the former HSBC bank on Main Street and lease the building.

The centre is run by the Kirkby Lonsdale and Lune Valley Community Interest Company (CIC) which has refitted the shop and extended the range of products, gifts and local crafts on sale.

Allan Muirhead, Sarah Ross and Cllr Giles Archibald at the new Visitor Information Centre in Kirkby Lonsdale

Allan Muirhead, town councillor and director of the CIC, said: “The move was two years in the making and we are grateful for all the help and support which has made it possible. The site is perfect and local people are delighted that the building, which had stood empty for a long time in a prominent commercial position, is now occupied once again.”

The building is large enough for the CIC to sub-let office space to a firm of estate agents and solicitors and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Sarah Ross, the CIC’s Tourism and Town Manager, said: “The vast majority of Visitor Information Centres are now independently run and this new arrangement should really help us.”

SLDC’s Leader, Councillor Giles Archibald, said the council had been delighted to help with the relocation.

“This is an excellent example of localism, where the district council has listened to an idea, offered help and advice and worked in partnership to make it happen. We were pleased to support the local CIC, which is a special type of company which exists to benefit the community,” he said.

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