Published: October 4, 2013
Closed M5 tourist centre directs visitors to Yeovil instead of Burnham

A popular motorway tourist information centre near Burnham-On-Sea has closed down for nine months and is directing visitors to Taunton and Yeovil instead - even though Burnham's tourist centre is just five miles away.

The Somerset Visitor Centre at Sedgemoor Services on the southbound M5 motorway has shut down until next summer due to maternity leave, Somerset County Council said this week.

But the decision to place a poster on the door advising visitors to contact tourist centres in Taunton and Yeovil instead of the nearest information centre has disappointed tourism leaders in Burnham.

Tom Ashton, a director with Somerset Tourism Association, said: "It's ridiculous that the County Council is ignoring Burnham when it is just five miles away with a tourist centre open during the whole winter."

The decision has also disappointed BIARS (Burnham Information and Rescue Support), the group that runs Burnham's seafront Tourist Information Centre.

Ian Jefferies, BIARS Tourism Manager, told "We are surprised that the Sedgemoor Services tourist centre has closed for the winter and is not promoting us as the nearest alternative."

"Many coaches and travellers will be stopping there during the run-up to Christmas in the coming months and many visitors could be directed our way. It's a missed opportunity to help us by the county council."

Somerset County Council spokesman Peter Elliott told "The centre usually has limited winter opening, but due to maternity leave is now closed until summer 2014."

"While it is closed, visitors are directed to telephone or email the Taunton or Yeovil TICs, or are encouraged to log on to the Visit Somerset website."

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