Closure of Tourist Information Centre at Sedgemoor Services

Mike Newman made this Freedom of Information request to Somerset County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Dear Somerset County Council,

I write to request the following information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act:

1. What is the anticipating saving from closure of the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) at Sedgemoor Services on the M5?

2. Are there any staff redundancy costs which are ofset against the figure in Q1?

3. Has any assessment of the impact of the TIC on:

a. the numbers of generated tourist visits to Somerset?
b.the financial value of the tourism generated in Q3(a)?
c. the number of generated tourist visits to Burnham-on-Sea?
d.the financial value of the tourism generated in Q3(c)?

4. Has any provision been made to support other TICs in the area as a result of this closure?

5. Does Somerset County Council have any ongoing commitment to the cost of the building in which the TIC operated, and if so for how long will this continue?

Yours faithfully,

Mike Newman

Information Request, Somerset County Council

Internal Reference: 141754

Date request received: 15/04/2015

Date response due: 14/05/2015

 

 

Dear Mr Newman,

 

Thank you for your request for information of which we are dealing with
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  We are currently dealing with
your request and will be in touch shortly concerning disclosure of the
information you have requested.

 

We will endeavour to send our response to you by 14th May 2015.

 

In the meantime if you have any further queries please contact me quoting
the reference numbers above.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Information Request Team

email: [1][Somerset County Council request email]

Telephone: 01823 359 359

Somerset County Council, Post Point: PP B3E 2, County Hall, Taunton, TA1
4DY

URL: [2]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [3]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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References

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Dear Somerset County Council,

I note that you have not responded to my Freedom of Information Request regarding the Tourist Information Centre at Sedgemoor Services on the M5. As I understand the act, a response should have been received by today, 14th May.

You have also not informed me that there would be any delay, or of any issue with the request so I am unfortunately in a position where I must request an internal review of the handling of this matter.

Could you please arrange for the failure to respond to this request, to notify me of any delay, or to confirm any issues with my original questions to be reviewed by the appropriate staff within the council.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Newman

Victoria Baxter, Somerset County Council

This is an Official email sent from Somerset County Council.

Internal Reference: 141754

Date request received: 15/04/2015

Date response due: 14/05/2015

Date of actual response: 14/05/2015

 

Dear Mr Newman,

 

I am writing in respect of your recent request for information from
Somerset County Council which has been dealt with under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

I confirm that we do hold some of the information you are seeking and we
are able to provide this to you. Our response is detailed underneath your
questions as follows.

 

 1. What is the anticipating saving from closure of the Tourist
Information Centre (TIC) at Sedgemoor Services on the M5?

 

Approximately £20,000 in the current year and approximately £25,000 (per
annum) in future years.

 

 2. Are there any staff redundancy costs which are offset against the
figure in Q1?

 

Yes

 

 3. Has any assessment of the impact of the TIC on:

·       The numbers of generated tourist visits to Somerset?

·       The financial value of the tourism generated in Q3(a)?

·       The number of generated tourist visits to Burnham-on-Sea?

·       The financial value of the tourism generated in Q3(c)?

 

In 2012, SCC (Somerset County Council) reviewed all of its services to
identify where further value for money and efficiencies could be made.  As
part of this review, an independent consultant was appointed to review
SCC’s tourism services, including the operation of the SVC (Somerset
Visitor Centre).

           

           The review of SCC’s tourism service, which also benchmarked SCC
against other local authorities nationally, recommended that SCC should
play a more strategic / enabling role rather than a delivery role. 
Following this, SCC consulted with stakeholders on the future / possible
closure of the SVC, including the option of another organisation taking
over the running of the SVC at no cost to SCC.  Although there was some
initial interest from partners in operating the SVC, they were unable to
provide the business case to do so and SCC subsequently closed the SVC. 
We are, however, exploring whether it is possible to provide an electronic
tourism information service at Sedgemoor services.

 

          The Somerset Visitor Centre did not operate as a traditional
Tourist Information Centre but acted as a gateway to Somerset for
travellers using the Sedgemoor Motorway Services on the M5 (southbound).
 It is, therefore not possible to measure the impact / value of the SVC on
tourism in Somerset.

 

 4. Has any provision been made to support other TICs in the area as a
result of this closure?

 

Equipment, fittings and goods for re-sale from the Somerset Visitor Centre
were offered (free of charge) to Somerset Tourist Information Centres. The
SVC telephone service has been redirected to partner organisations. A
notice at the Centre directs visitors to Tourist Information Centres for
information and assistance and refers to the Visit Somerset website (where
Somerset Tourist Information Centres are listed).

 

 5. Does Somerset County Council have any ongoing commitment to the cost
of the building in which the TIC operated, and if so for how long will
this continue?

 

There is a small commitment to pay business rates and maintenance costs
until the lease for the Centre is returned to Roadchef.

 

If you feel your request has not been answered in sufficient detail or if
you wish to clarify the information given, please contact me and I will be
happy to address the issues you raise.

 

If you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt
with, or the information you have received, you can ask for an internal
review of our decision.

 

Please send your request to:

 

Peter Grogan, Information Governance Team, Somerset County Council, County
Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY or email
[1][email address

 

Please remember to quote the reference number 141754 in any future
communications.

 

An internal review will then be carried out and we will write to you with
the results of our investigation. If you are not content with the outcome
of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office ([2]www.ico.gov.uk) for an appeal.  The Information
commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

 

Finally, please be aware that your response will appear, without your
contact details, on the Council’s website at:

 

[3]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Victoria Baxter

Information Request Team

email: [4][Somerset County Council request email]

Telephone: 01823 359560

Somerset County Council, Post Point: PP B3E 2, County Hall, Taunton, TA1
4DY

URL: [5]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [6]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

 

This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to whom
it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material and should
be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. If this
email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or RESTRICTED in the
header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines, if not protectively
marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you
are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or
rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must
be deleted immediately.

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any
attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti
-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own
anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Somerset County Council
will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses
emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance
with relevant legislation.

References

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