The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

New space to ‘linger longer’


Horsham Rural City Council is finalising layout design for the relocation of its visitor services centre, and updating signs to guide people through the regional city.

The transforme­d space will seek to encourage visitors to ‘linger longer’, with more seating, increased local produce offerings and areas for charging devices.

Visitors will also have access to an automatic coffee machine and locallymad­e slices.

The council’s acting chief executive Kevin O’brien said plans were ‘well underway’ but did not confirm a timeline for the relocation.

He said the layout design would be accessible and comfortabl­e for visitors to plan visits and itinerarie­s.

“Flexibilit­y is also a key focus of the space to ensure the set up can be changed as technologi­es and visitor informatio­n centres adapt for changing needs into the future,” he said.

Mr O’brien said there would be no change to staffing.

The visitor services desk and box office will operate from the new location during the same service hours – daily, from 10am to 4pm.

“The event box office will operate prior to a performanc­e from the Town Hall box office counter,” Mr O’brien said.

“There is still a strong commitment to bringing back volunteers once we are in the new space and planning around this will start once the layout and functional­ity of the space is finalised.

“Signage will also be updated to assist with wayfinding throughout the city and also within the Horsham Town Hall and outside the visitor informatio­n centre.

“This has already started in anticipati­on of the move.”

Mr O’brien said 2023 was the first uninterrup­ted year of visitation at the Horsham Town Hall site and with about two months remaining in the calendar year, visitor services had welcomed 4395 visitors to date.

“The previous full year at the former visitor informatio­n centre site, being 2019, serviced 3044 visitors with an average of 2827 visitors using the service for the four years prior,” he said.

“So in short, post COVID, the new site has seen a significan­t increase in visitors seeking visitor services.

“It is expected that with an even more public and visual presence in the old cafe site, that we will see these numbers further increase.

“Staff have also received very positive comments about the half hour long vehicle park at the front of the Horsham Town Hall, since its installati­on.”

The council, in April, agreed to relocate its visitor services from the town hall foyer to the former cafe space at the venue.

It moved to the town hall from its previous O’callaghan’s Parade location in November 2020.

The cafe space, originally designated for a commercial cafe, had 42 percent occupancy from two operators during that time since the town hall opened after redevelopm­ent in 2016.

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