We need funding for visitor centre

APPEAL: Sue and Walter Hasler ouside Go-Stow, their independent visitor centre.

APPEAL: Sue and Walter Hasler ouside Go-Stow, their independent visitor centre.

First published in Cotswolds

STAFF at Stow’s tourist information centre are calling for more funding to bring it in line with similar services in the Cotswolds.

Go-Stow, the independent visitor centre owned by Sue and Walter Hasler, opened in January 2010 after Cotswold District Council (CDC) closed the council-run centre in the town in 2009.

The centre at Talbot Court previously operated as a book, map and gift shop but the couple also began offering tourism services to fill the gap created by the council centre’s closure, using their own money to develop the plans.

Having been open for two years the couple feel that they should receive the same funding from CDC as the visitor information centres (VIC) in Bourton, Chipping Campden and Tetbury do.

Mrs Hasler said: “All we’re asking for is to be treated fairly and in line with what they’re doing elsewhere.

“We’ve never had any help with business rates or rent. We would like funding which would be in recognition that we’re doing a public service on behalf of the council.

“Bourton get the highest amount of funding and our footfall is the same as them.”

David Neudegg, chief executive of CDC, said the authority would consider awarding a grant but Go-Stow would have to find alternative funding after two years.

He said: “Our grant to VICs will be reduced over next two years with the aim that by year three CDC do not give grants to VICs.

“I realise that you need money now to survive but a judgement needs to be made on whether supporting a venture that does not have viable long-term plans without reliance on public funds is a good use of council taxpayers money.” Under the plans, Campden VIC could move to the library while Bourton VIC is discussing funding initiatives.

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