Published: April 19, 2010
Four organisations 'express interest' in taking over tourist centre

Four organisations have come forward to take over Burnham-On-Sea's Tourist Information Centre, it has been announced this week.

The four unnamed organisations have submitted formal 'expressions of interest' to the Town Council's working party which was set up earlier this year to find a new group to run the struggling centre.

It comes after cash-strapped Sedgemoor District Council announced last November that it could no longer afford to fund the premises. The Town Council came to the rescue in February when it give a £50,000 lifeline to keep it open until 31 March 2011, alongside £28,000 from the district council, but a long-term solution is needed to keep it open.

Cllr Neville Jones, Chairman of the Tourist Information Centre Working Party, has written to interested parties this week announcing the news that four groups are in the running to take it over.

He states: "I can tell you that to date there have been expressions of interest from four organisations in being part of the running of the TIC, although commercial sensitivity means I am unable to say at this time who these organisations are. Discussions with these organisations are ongoing."

"I hope you will be delighted to know that following the Town Council’s agreement to provide funding of £50,000 for the financial year 2010/11, and the provision of a further £28,000 from Sedgemoor District Council, the Tourist Information Centre will remain open until 31st March 2011 with only minor changes to the way in which it operates."

"This means that there is now a 'breathing space' in which to find alternative ways of funding and running a Tourist Information Centre in the town."

"The remit of the Working Party therefore is to secure funds for the long term future of a Tourist Information facility for Burnham, and to produce a feasibility plan, financial plan and management plan for such a facility. This does not, however, rule out some closer scrutiny of current practices during 2001/11."

"Separately, the Working Party is gathering information on how other Tourist Information Centres in the southwest are run, and more importantly, how they are funded to see if any lessons can be learnt."

He added that the next meeting of the Working Party is scheduled for Monday 24th May, and in the meantime members of the group are also visiting other Tourist Information Centres. Burnham-On-Sea.com will continue to track progress of the group.



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