Parish concern over threat to visitor centre

Wooler Parish Council

MEMBERS expressed concerns at the proposed closure of Ingram visitor centre and the impact it will have on tourism.

Northumberland National Park Authority is planning to close its Ingram and Rothbury visitor centres as it attempts to manage a 33 per cent cut in its funding from Defra.

Chairman Coun Joyce Robertson said: “It’s very sad news that we seem to be losing out again.

“We get a lot of holidaymakers to this area but closing Ingram is going to stop people coming here. They should be looking at closing some of the facilities at Hadrian’s Wall instead.”

Coun Anthony Murray, a member of the National Park Authority, insisted there was no other choice but to close Ingram visitor centre given the financial situation.

He felt there was an opportunity for Wooler, the largest town in the local catchment area, to provide an information service for the northern section of the National Park.

“Compared to Ingram, Wooler has far more floating visitors looking for something to do and I would think an information point there would do more good for north Northumberland,” he said.

Councillors had earlier heard from National Park officer Catriona Milligan about the scale of cuts facing the authority.

She said: “Our operating budget is around £3million and the cut is about 30 per cent so we’re looking at saving £1million.”