RESIDENTS are being assured that the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre will still offer much of its current services when it relocates next month.

West Dorset District Council agreed to move the service to the Dorchester Library and Learning Centre building, despite a passionate campaign from the local community to keep it at its the current location in Antelope Walk.

The service is set to more to its new premises in mid to late March, with the council confirmed it is on track for an April 1 opening.

A number of concerns were raised about the range of services to be offered at the new premises but the council says it is planning to retain almost all of the offerings currently provided.

The business case submitted for the move stated that services for local residents such as travel and ticketing services for local events will remain.

The only area set to be effected is the retail sales of things such as souvenirs and locally produced goods.

The new Tourist Information Centre at the library will occupy around 34 square meters of flood space on the ground floor, compared to the 60 square metres offered at the Antelope Walk premises.

However, the council says at least half of the current site is given over to retail display.

Prior to the move, the service employed a part-time manager, a full-time assistant manager and six part-time assistant.

The business case for the library set-up states proposed one supervisor and five part-time assistants, the equivalent of three full-time employees.

The council expects the move will save around £80,000 a year.

Dorchester town and district councillor David Taylor, who was part of the campaign to keep the Tourist Information Centre in Antelope Walk, said now the decision was made it was important people got behind the relocated service and the staff.

He added that it was vital that sufficient signposting was put in place around the town to direct visitors and residents to the relocated facility.

Cllr Taylor said: "My concern would be for the benefit of the public that we make sure people fully understand where it is and people are properly directed to the new premises."