Friday, December 28, 2012
Organisations have been urged to come forward to look at taking over two north Norfolk tourist information centres after it was revealed that a deal is on the cards for the transfer of a third.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is keen to talk to groups that would like to manage the centres at Holt and Sheringham, after an initial plea resulted in no offers.
Meanwhile, an unnamed trust is in negotiations with the council over taking on the lease for Wells TIC, and could begin to manage it by Easter.
NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “Under the localism bill, organisations can offer to take on services run by councils. We have to consider those offers. We’ve had an approach from an organisation for the Wells TIC. This is the first approach we have had under these powers.
“If successful, we would set up a service-level agreement. We are optimistic and see this as a positive thing. We would continue to own it, but the group would run it.
“Tourism is important and communities take it seriously. If it could be managed locally, they could push their own localities – but we would still be promoting tourism across the rest of the area.”
NNDC has been carrying out a review into the centres.
A report to its cabinet on January 7 recommends a reduction in staffing levels at TICs, plus the removal of the 24-hour self-service kiosks and destination management system, which council chief executive Sheila Oxtoby said “do not offer value for money”.
Mr Fitzpatrick said that up to £70,000 could be saved over the next five years. The aim was to save money, but to retain the level of service, he added.