Town's tourist information centre saved

By Ted JeoryTHE future of a tourist information centre has been secured at the 11th hour after fresh funding was found to rescue four jobs set to be axed tomorrow.

By Ted Jeory

THE future of a tourist information centre has been secured at the 11th hour after fresh funding was found to rescue four jobs set to be axed tomorrow.

Harwich Connexions Transport Co-operative Ltd announced last night it had stepped in to find enough money to keep the town's tourist office going for another 15 months.

Four full and part-time staff at the centre, which was last month voted the second best in the country, had been counting down the days to Christmas Eve, when it had been expected the office would shut.


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Earlier this year, Essex County Council announced it was scrapping the £50,000 budget set aside for the centre - which is based in Safeway's car park near Harwich International Port - to keep Council Tax bills down.

Harwich Connexions Transport Co-operative Ltd has put forward a new £75,000 package and negotiated the free transfer from the county council of the centre, complete with fixtures and fittings.

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Funding will come from Harwich Town, Tendring District and Essex County Councils, plus the East of England Development Agency and Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which runs the port.

The rescue package will keep the centre going for another 15 months while negotiations about its long-term financing continue.

Les Double, Harwich mayor and chairman of Harwich Connexions Transport Co-operative Ltd, said: “We've been quietly working on this for a number of months now and obviously it's good news.

“Some issues still require resolution, but we do now have a substantive agreement in place ensuring the continued operation of a valuable town and regional resource.”

Paul Davey, communications manager for Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, said it would be contributing £5,000 to keep the centre open.

“There a lot of tourists that pass through the port and we wanted to help the town council in their efforts to see as many as possible pause on their way through,” he added.

Peter Martin, county council cabinet member for planning, enterprise and regeneration, said it would make two one-off payments of £15,000 each towards the running of the centre for the rest of the financial year.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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