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£14,000 of grants set to be offered for tourism promotion in market towns

Published: Monday, 3 December, 2018

Town councils could get a share of a £14,000 Stroud District Council pot to help promote district-wide tourist information.  

The district’s seven market towns could each get a £2,000 tourism grant which they could use in partnership with neighbouring parishes, if councillors approve a proposal next week.

The Community Services and Licensing Committee is also set to approve joining a county-wide Gloucestershire First Local Enterprise Partnership group to promote the Stroud district and Gloucestershire as well.

A cross-party Tourism Task and Finish Group has recommended to the committee that seven one-off grants of £2,000 be made to encourage the promotion of district-wide tourist information.

“I see this as a rolling out of tourism provision across the whole district, instead of just keeping it in Stroud, and I think that’s the way the cross-party Task and Finish Group sees it as well,” said committee chair Councillor Mattie Ross.

“The opportunity is there for towns and parishes to work in partnership and the report notes that three tourist information centres are operating in the market towns already and two more are being set up.

“We have also have the opportunity to shape tourism strategy in Gloucestershire with Gfirst LEP.”

Berkeley, Dursley, Nailsworth, Painswick, Stonehouse, Stroud and Wotton-under-Edge would be encouraged to apply and work with neighbouring town and parish councils. The report says that the grants are proposed for 2019/20 after the decision to transfer the Subscription Rooms to Stroud Town Council/Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust on 31 March 2019.

Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust’s business plan shows no other suitable floor provision to accommodate the tourist information centre (TIC) following the transfer. The report says the increasing availability online local tourist information means customers can do their own research and bookings so there is less need to visit or contact a TIC. Three TIC staff roles are set to be made redundant and staff have been consulted.

It would also save SDC £81,000, less the £14,000 one-off grants, to help address increasing financial pressures caused by reductions in funding levels.

At the same meeting on Thursday, December 6, committee members will be asked to consider appointing a member from the cross-party Task and Finish Group to Gfirst Local Enterprise Partnership’s Visitor Economy / Tourism Business Group.

That has been established to draw up a new county-wide tourism strategy, aimed at broadening the county’s appeal to tourists. A report drawn up for the Tourism Task and Finish Group identified weaknesses in the old, wider Cotswold tourism strategy and a strong commitment to tourism from parish and town councils.

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