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Plans are well advanced for a community group to take over the running of the Kirkby Stephen Tourist Information Centre (TIC) for the summer season and beyond. Eden District Council and the Upper Eden Community Interest Group have been working together to enable the TIC Service to continue following the Council’s planned withdrawal at the end of March 2012.
Councillor Malcolm Smith, Eden District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Economy, said: “This is really good news for the District. We have been working in partnership on these plans and they are now coming to fruition. The Council will continue to support the community group to provide the services which are vital to the tourist industry of the Upper Eden area. It is intended that the community group will be able to operate from the centrally located building in the heart of Kirkby Stephen.”
The final arrangements are being put in place for the service to operate from Easter onwards to capture the start of the 2012 tourist season.
This community take over is a joint project between the Upper Eden Community Plan (UCEP), Kirkby Stephen Town Forum, Kirkby Stephen Town Council, Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome and Upper Eden Future. Chairman of this group Alex Birtles said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Upper Eden to take control of its own destiny in terms of their tourism offer. It has been over a year now since the launch of our own 'Tourism Strategy' and the creation of a Visitors Centre for the town fits very will with the aspirations of that strategy.
We are looking forward to the takeover of the current TIC building at the beginning of April. Over the next few weeks we will be actively recruiting volunteers to work in the centre at the same time as developing our retail and leaflet hosting offers. If anybody is interested in volunteering at the centre or if you are a business who would like to display your leaflets or sell your products in the centre then we would be very keen to hear from you.”
For more information about Eden District Council visit www.eden.gov.uk or follow us at twitter.com/edencouncil For more information about the Community Takeover of Kirkby Stephen TIC including how to volunteer contact UCEP Project Officer, Libby Bateman tel: 077596 65233.