TIC survival rests on council support

PUBLISHED: 15:37 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:47 10 June 2010

ATTEMPTS by councillors to cut off the financial life-line of Exmouth's struggling Tourist Information Centre, hoping it would develop into a self-funding 'viable concern', have been abandoned. A behind closed doors session of the Town Council on Monday s

ATTEMPTS by councillors to cut off the financial life-line of Exmouth's struggling Tourist Information Centre, hoping it would develop into a self-funding 'viable concern', have been abandoned.A behind closed doors session of the Town Council on Monday saw councillors face the fact that cutting off public money would effectively finish the TIC.For years the Town Council funded the TIC to the tune of £10,000 year - but in July they released just £5,000 because repeated calls by frustrated members for a 'workable business plan' showing future projections had been ignored.The council then asked for the Management Committee to continue to meet and report back in the autumn.But on Monday it soon came clear that attempts to cut the financial umbilical cord had come to nothing and councillors were left with a stark choice: spend £10,000 a year on a costly service, or face the prospect of Exmouth being the only coastal resort in the South West without tourist information. Ian Stewart chairman of the TIC Management Committee said: "A rigorous examination of the TIC's running costs and fundraising activities has been carried out over a number of months. "Detailed figures and projections now demonstrate clearly that the survival of the TIC over the next three years depends on support from the Town Council." Previous District Council funding of £15,000 had been withdrawn leaving the town council with the dilemma of either leaving the TIC to reduce opening times drastically or close altogether.Mr Steward added that the ruining costs of TICs around the country were comparable and most were supported by similar council grants - and pointed out that the district council would continue to provide the current accommodation for the TIC at a 'peppercorn' rent.Town clerk John Wokersien said: "...although the town council previously sought a tapering grant over three years to enable the TIC to be self funding, the reality of the situation is that this is unachievable, particularly with current weather patterns and the economic downturn."However, Cllr Steve Wragg said it was against council rules to revisit a resolution within six months.

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