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Tourist centre to shut after funds debacle
10:00am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
THE owners of Stow’s tourist information centre say they have been forced to close after losing a nine-month battle to secure funding.
Sue and Walter Hasler, who own Go-Stow, say they have “completely lost trust in Stow’s town councillors” and will be closing at the beginning of December.
The couple had been locked in talks with Cotswold District Council (CDC) to secure funding for their independent centre as they felt they should receive the same support as the visitor information centres (VICs) in Bourton, Chipping Campden and Tetbury, having been open for two years. Go- Stow opened in January 2010 after CDC’s tourist office closed. After months of negotiations, CDC suggested match-funding £10,000 with Stow Town Council and the couple were given 15 minutes to present their case to town councillors at a meeting on October 4.
But the town council decided against funding the enterprise and instead offered a voluntary position to the couple. However, in a new twist, the meeting has now been declared ‘null and void’ after the town council did not publicise it, leaving the couple back to square one.
In a statement Mr and Mrs Hasler said: “This latest development was the final straw for us. We have completely lost trust in Stow’s town councillors, based on the way the October 4 meeting was conducted and how the outcome was handled.
“We have worked very hard to establish a welcoming and professional visitor centre for the town from scratch and we know we have achieved that because of all the great feedback we get.
“The town councillors don’t seem to appreciate the added value we have brought to the town, and in the main, appear to have no interest in this. We would like to thank all those who have helped and supported our campaign for funding throughout the last eight months.”
Councillor Moyra McGuie resigned from the town council last week over what she called the “premature and deeply unsavoury decision” to not provide funding.
Mayor Robin Jones said: “We intend having another council meeting within the next fortnight about Go- Stow if they wish to come along.”