Tourist cash aid
PUBLISHED: 02:01 23 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 10 June 2010
EXMOUTH'S Tourist Information Centre was thrown a financial lifeline on Monday - but only until October. Councillors agreed to provide £5,000 of funding immediately - £3,000 has already been given this year - to the Manor Gardens-based centre, on the cond
EXMOUTH'S Tourist Information Centre was thrown a financial lifeline on Monday - but only until October.Councillors agreed to provide £5,000 of funding immediately - £3,000 has already been given this year - to the Manor Gardens-based centre, on the condition that a review is held after the summer season.However the funding is just half of the £10,000 originally requested - and half of the annual sum the TIC has been used to receiving over the last three years.Three years ago the centre, run by the Chamber of Commerce, was told to present a satisfactory business plan to councillors, or lose their vital funding. But despite concerns that the business plan finally presented on Monday wasn't 'workable' and was devoid of any financial forecasts, after a debate it came clear to councillors that without extra funds the TIC would be forced to close.This would leave Exmouth as one of the few seaside resorts without a TIC, which Cllr Mark Williamson said would be 'disastrous'' for the town's economy.He said: "What seems clear is that the future of the TIC hangs in the balance. The TIC does a tremendous job for the town."Cllr Vivian Duvall-Steer agreed and added that with Cllr's Mark Williamson and Ian Stewart they were meeting with Peter Halse, EDDC's Economy portfolio holder - to ask the district council to reinstate public funding. Cllr Trevor Cope said: "EDDC withdrew all the funding to TIC's worth £14,000 a year and left the town council in an impossible position."We need a TIC- but I am concerned that I don't see any new funding steams."But most councillors agreed that without more information about the direction the business was going in, they could not handover the remaining £7,000.Cllr Steve Wragg said that nothing had changed in three years and a viable business plan still hadn't been submitted: "The building is owned by EDDC - but what happens if there needs to a be a roof repair. That could cost £30,000. The TIC would have to pay; therefore we would have to pay."If we are to have public funding it should come from East Devon and not the town council."Cllr Lyn Elson also added her concerns and said that the plans had no projections for takings over the summer.While Cllr Pauline Stott made the point that many services provided by the TIC were online.However councillors agreed that the TIC needed enough money to last through the season.They also agreed to consider a further £5,000 in the autumn - on the condition that the TIC actively seeks new 'revenue streams.'