Tourists 'will benefit' from Stiperstones centre transfer

Tourists will benefit from the transfer of visitor centre at one of the county's beauty spots to a community interest group, council officials have claimed.

Tourists 'will benefit' from Stiperstones centre transfer

Shropshire Council's cabinet approved the handing over management of The Bog Visitor Centre at Stiperstones to a community interest company set up to manage the centre.

An agreement for low rent forms part of the 25-year lease for the Bog Visitor Centre Community Interest Company, CIC, on the condition any surplus funds are used for building repairs and information for visitors.

Councillor Robert Tindall, deputy portfolio holder for estates and built assets, said: "The major help to Shropshire Council will be that the new social enterprise will undertake repairs, of which there are quite a considerable amount to be done.

"The rent is below market value on the basis that the organisation will reinvest the surplus they make in the building and in the service they provide to the public in interpretation of the ecology and the history of the Stiperstones."

The centre was set up in 1996 and is visited by more than 20,000 people a year.

A report to the cabinet

stated: "The asset requires ongoing maintenance and conservation in the future with an associated revenue burden.

Economy

"The organisation has developed a business plan to fund ongoing repairs and improvements while continuing to support the interpretation for the Stiperstones upland region, part of the wider Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, along with its mining history."

Noel Evans, chairman of the Bog Visitor Centre CIC, said the centre was a vital part of the county's tourism economy.

He said: "The Stiperstones is one of our great attractions for tourists and it is very important that we have the centre."

The council report said that repair works have been carried out to keep the building "wind and watertight but due to the age of the building further works will be required over the next few years".

According to the council the repairs can be funded through a number of means.

The report states: "This additional work has been factored into the business plan submitted by the CIC and will be paid for out of the reserve funds which the CIC has inherited from the previous management structure.

"The proposed 25 year lease should also enable the CIC to seek additional grant funding which may be required for future works and improvements."

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