councillors defend decision to give £50k to save Tourist
Town Council's decision to spend £50,000 on keeping the
Tourist Information Centre open for the summer season came under
attack at the Annual Town Meeting on Wednesday evening (April
residents questioned whether the decision was ill-advised, adding
that the public funding should have been directed towards income-generating
comes after the Town Council decided
earlier this year that it would give a £50,000 lifeline
to the seafront centre to keep it open for the summer season after
cash-strapped Sedgemoor District Council said it could no longer
afford to run it.
£50,000 should have been invested in a service that will
create revenue, such as a traffic warden in Burnham, rather than
a loss-making tourist centre" argued Burnham resident Tony
Lynham at Wednesday's meeting.
Tourist Information Centre is not a going concern and the money
should have spent more wisely. Now, the funding is irretrievable
- we can't possibly get it back."
Mayor Derick Cooper defended the council's decision.
£50,000 has given us some breathing space while a working
party searches for a new group to take it over. We wanted to keep
the centre open this summer until someone is found to take it
over for the long-term."
Chris Williams added that the council's decision to spend the
£50,000 had not been taken lightly.
had a very good debate at the time and the £50,000 option
was not the only one on the table," he said. "We considered
several routes forward, so it wasn't a snap decision."
resident Alex Turco also questioned town councillors about their
control of the funding now that it has been diverted towards the
I were putting £50,000 into a loss-making business formerly
run by the district council, I would want two votes to their one
on how the money is spent," he said.
handing over the money without any control on how it gets spent
seems to me to be a poor way of spending it."
Neville Jones stressed that if the money had not been supplied,
"the Tourist Information Centre would have closed at the
end of March."
added that the working party which has been set up to find a long-term
solution for the property has "three choices in front of
is Cllr Neville Jones outside Burnham's Tourist Information Centre