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Positive Options Mooted For Future Of Stow VIC
A firm proposal has been put forward for a visitor information service to remain in Stow-on-the-Wold.
A local business has come forward with a proposal to operate a tourism information service at the firm’s current retail property in the town, potentially from May 2009.
This will provide a proactive service which will liaise and work with local businesses to promote their products, while ensuring the availability of a wide range of information on local attractions, events and accommodation.
Cotswold District Council has been working on behalf of the group (CDC and Stow Town Council working party, businesses in Stow and St Edwards Hall Trustees) to find a new location for the visitor information centre and has been looking at several options over the past few months.
A proposal to install an un-staffed Visitor Information Point in the town’s library in St Edward’s Hall has been declined by the trustees of the hall, but discussions are still taking place between CDC and GCC regarding the level of information that could be made available from the Library.
Cllr David Fowles, Cotswold District Council’s portfolio holder for sport, culture and enterprise, said:
“Cotswold District Council is committed to provide visitor information in the North Cotswolds.
“We have looked at a number of different options for the future of Stow VIC for some time, and believe that the proposal put forward by a local business could work very well for visitors and residents. The changes to the service in Stow will provide cost savings without removing visitor information provision from the town.”
Robin Jones, Chairman of Stow-on-the-Wold Town Council, said: “I am grateful that the STC Working Party has been able to bring forward a proposal that will provide Stow and the Cotswolds with tourist information, but I much regret losing the expertise and friendly advice offered by our award-winning present VIC. I should like to thank the staff there on behalf of all the residents and visitors who will greatly miss their local knowledge.”
Councillor Chris Turner from Stow Town Council said: “We have over the recent weeks endeavoured to save the Visitor Information Centre from closure, which had been insisted upon by Cotswold District Council because of financial restraints.
“During this short period we – Stow Town Council Working Group – sought support from those businesses in Stow which could use their present facilities to step into the possible void - fortunately one such business came forward and are at present seeking to provide a service comparable and possibly improved.”
The current VIC set-up, run by Cotswold District Council and staffed by several Council officers, will close on April 18th. It has been based in Stow-on-the-Wold since 1987.
Currently, the Stow VIC costs Cotswold District Council more than £75,000 per year. Since 2004 CDC has handed over the running of VICs in Tetbury, Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water to local organisations, and now provides these VICs with annual grants totalling £44,000 (2009/10 figures).
Between them, the VICs in Tetbury, Chipping Campden and Bourton-on-the-Water receive 115,000 visitors per year- Stow on the Wold alone attracts approximately 113,000 visitors per year.
: 23/03/2009 16:53:34
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