Saved! TIC to be run by the town council
SAFFRON Walden s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has been saved from closure, after an Uttlesford District Council (UDC) committee approved plans to transfer control of the centre to the town council. Saffron Walden Town Council was expected to give the
SAFFRON Walden's Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has been saved from closure, after an Uttlesford District Council (UDC) committee approved plans to transfer control of the centre to the town council.
Saffron Walden Town Council was expected to give the plans the green light at a meeting after the Reporter went to press last night, Wednesday, meaning that by March 31, the TIC will be a town council-run service.
Saffron Walden Town Cllr Keith Eden, chairman of the property and services committee, said: "The deal has not been completed totally, but I feel very confident the town council will vote for the propositions in front of them.
"No-one's interested in seeing the TIC close and it seems more appropriate for it to be run by the town council than the district council anyway."
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Cllr Eden insisted that the town council's assumption of control of the TIC was not just a short-term solution, and that it would continue to operate the centre even after UDC was back on a firm financial footing.
The town council will now cover the financial staffing costs of the TIC, while UDC will provide a grant over three years to help meet other costs.
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Cllr Robert Chambers, chairman of the UDC finance and administration committee which approved its half of the handover, said: "The committee recognises the important work done by the TIC over many years and is pleased to be able to agree these proposals. We are confident our colleagues at the town council also recognise the excellent service it provides to the community and will likewise approve the plans.
"As much as Uttlesford District Council would like to continue running all the services we currently do, there is simply no way to do so in the current financial climate. This transfer to the town council is a good solution and means the public can continue to enjoy the same standard of service. The district council will continue to look at ways to deliver services even more effectively through partnership working."
The announcement should abate fears that one of the town's most treasured services would be lost.
The support the centre provides to a large number of community groups is expected to continue, including its function as a box office for Saffron Screen.
The bimonthly "What's On" guide will still be produced, as will the Visitor Accommodation guide.
Town clerk Malcolm White said: "The town council is looking forward to an exciting future with the TIC. It provides a truly excellent service for the Saffron Walden area and once these proposals are agreed, we can start working with the staff there to develop the TIC even further."
By handing over control of the TIC to the town council, the district council should save about £94,000 on next year's budget, helping the cash-strapped authority regain financial stability.