Threat to visitor centres’ future

First published in News

VISITOR information centres across the Cotswolds could have to close if grants from Cotswold District Council are withdrawn in the next financial year.

The VICs in Cirencester and Moreton are directly funded by Cotswold District Council, but those in Bourton, Tetbury, Stow and Chipping Campden are only partially funded by grants from the council.

In a written response to a question from Councillor Paul Hodgkinson at last week’s meeting of the Conservative-run cabinet, asking what its future plans were for VIC funding, Coun Barry Gibbs said the VICs would be unable to operate if the grants were removed.

“Following initial discussions with community providers, I do not now consider it possible for the community-operated facilities to remain open without a minimum grant from the council,”

he said. “I shall be seeking to agree with all providers a grant for consideration by the cabinet that will secure the current services for the future.”

Responding, Coun Hodgkinson said: “Your comment that the centres will have a minimum grant is very disturbing for such a highly valued service, especially when the council is sitting on reserves of £27 million. It worries me that by the time a decision is made, one of the sites may be out of business.”

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