Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting EJ NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Bad temper erupts over visitor centre
2:30pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
TEMPERS flared over the issue of a visitor information centre (VIC) for Stow as the town council came under fire at a heated public meeting.
The meeting was held on Valentine’s Day but there was no love lost as dozens of members of the public packed into Stow Youth Centre and voiced their fears about the future of the “vital” service.
No resolution was reached about the prospect of a new VIC being opened but those who attended were told that there were three parties interested in running it – the cricket museum, in Sheep Street, a property in the town square and Stow Library.
A motion that all should put a business proposal forward within seven days was never voted on as the meeting descended into bad temper.
Chairman Robin Jones, who suspended the meeting on several occasions and accused the public of being rude and “not knowing what they were talking about”, came in for heavy criticism from the floor.
He was told he had been “extremely rude from the start of the meeting” and his communication had been “appalling” while one resident called for a vote of no confidence in Coun Jones “in the interests of tourism in Stow”.
Coun Jones told residents the town council had “fought for funding for Go Stow from the start” and that members had spent “hours and hours trying to keep Stow going as a viable town”.
But soon afterwards, he called an abrupt close to the discussion as he led councillors out of the room to debate another matter in private session – leaving his son, who was in the audience, to explain to residents what was going on.
Sue and Walter Hasler closed their privately run VIC Go-Stow in December after being told they would no longer receive funding to run the service – despite a 1,600 signature petition to save it.
There is £10,000 on offer from Cotswold District Council to run a visitor service in the town but Stow Town Council maintains the terms of the grant mean it cannot be given to a private firm and that Go-Stow was unable to offer separate accounts for the VIC.
Stow Town Council will continue discussions, with Coun Chris Turner planning to hold a meeting open to any interested parties.