Published: November 3, 2010
Tourist Information Centre deal 'to be signed on November 11th'

A newly formed charity which has been set up to take over the running of Burnham-On-Sea's closure-threatened Tourist Information Centre is set to sign a deal to take over over the building on November 11th, we can reveal.

Sedgemoor District Council has sent the newly-formed BIARS (Burnham Information And Rescue Support) an official letter of agreement outlining the terms and conditions upon which the group can run the seafront centre.

"We're delighted that the centre has been saved from closure and we hope to sign a two-year lease on November 11th if a successful survey and other legalities are completed in time," Tom Ashton, a senior member of the working party set up to find a new owner for the centre, told

But he added that BIARS will need to raise almost £10,000 to create the new charity and also to meet its legal expenses and other start-up fees.

The working party's chairman, Neville Jones, added: "We will need to raise a big sum to get BIARS formed and running, but once it's opened, Burnham's tourist information centre will be a beacon to others across Somerset."

A fundraising race night is being organised on Saturday November 12th at 7pm at the Oaktree Arena to raise money for both the Tourist Centre and Burnham's Christmas lights.

"It will be a fun evening of entertainment with all the profits going to these two very good Burnham causes," said Tom.

He added that tickets, costing £5 each, are on sale now at the Oaktree Arena and will also be available on the door on the night.

The future of the seafront centre was plunged into jeopardy a year ago after cash-strapped Sedgemoor District Council announced last November that it could no longer afford to run the premises.

The Town Council came to the rescue in February when it provided a £50,000 lifeline to keep it open until 31 March 2011, alongside £28,000 from the district council, however a long-term solution was required to keep it open beyond next spring.

Sedgemoor's Executive Committee was presented with two proposals to run the building - one from the Bay View Cafe and the other from BIARS.


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