24th November 2015

Shropshire Council is seeking people’s views on the future delivery of visitor information services in northwest Shropshire.

A consultation runs from 17 November until 29 December 2015.

During 2015, Shropshire Council, with key local partners, has been discussing new ways of delivering visitor information services in northwest Shropshire, where the council currently operates the Oswestry Mile End Visitor Information Centre (VIC) on the service area next to the A5.

An initial soft market testing exercise was undertaken during July 2015, and some interest was expressed in providing information services to visitors in the area, but not on the current site.

As part of the consultation Shropshire Council is seeking people’s views on its preferred option – and also asking people to put forward any other proposals or suggestions they may have.

The council’s preferred option is to transfer responsibility for enquiries by personal callers, email, telephone and post to Oswestry Borderland Tourism Ltd – which already provides visitor information at the Heritage Centre – and to close the facility at Mile End service area.

Under this proposal an area and town map information board would be provided at the Mile End service area promoting the availability of local visitor information services in Oswestry and at nearby tourist attractions. The board would include the telephone number of Oswestry Heritage Centre VIC, local websites, local visitor amenities and other helpful information.

This would result in the service continuing to be delivered in northwest Shropshire but at a reduced cost to the council. A Service Level Agreement with Oswestry Borderland Tourism Ltd would provide financial support to provide visitor information services in the area.

However, Shropshire Council is also open to alternative proposals.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for visitor economy, said:

“Shropshire Council is working with partners to re-design existing face-to-face visitor information services, to create places where visitors and local residents can easily get information and advice that helps them, but also contributes to the wider tourism economy of the county.

“This is to help us to create and maintain resilient facilities at a time of reducing public service budgets – but we’re also working to ensure that through redesign we find ways to continue to deliver high-quality services, at a lower cost.

“Whilst we have a preferred option for northwest Shropshire, no decision has yet been made. There’s an opportunity for alternative proposals to be made and I encourage people to let us know their views.

“The information we receive through the consultation will be used to inform any decision-making on the future delivery of visitor information services and the management of the Oswestry Mile End VIC.”

To take part in the consultation, and for more information, click here to visit the Shropshire Council website.

http://new.shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved/visitor-information-services-in-north-west-shropshire/

Consultation forms are also available at the Oswestry Mile End Visitor Information Centre and Oswestry Heritage Centre and may be returned to both locations.

Further information

Oswestry Mile End Visitor Information Centre

The Oswestry Mile End VIC is run by the Library Service of Shropshire Council and is open five days a week providing a range of visitor services including free and saleable information leaflets and books, souvenirs, bed booking facility and also answers enquiries by post, phone and email. It provides services to less than 30,000 visitors per year, a significant decrease on the peak number of 76,000 in 2008.

The office is rented from the site owner at a peppercorn rent and the Council covers other costs such as business rates, staffing, energy and the costs of supplies for re-sale.

Oswestry Heritage Centre – Visitor Information Centre

Visitor Information is available at the Heritage centre in the town centre next to St. Oswald’s Church. It is open all year, Monday to Saturday and deals with enquiries in person, by letter, email and telephone. The service is operated with paid staff by Oswestry Borderland Tourism Ltd.

 

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