Three tourist attractions in Cleethorpes to be handed over to outside company

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 16 Mar 2017

A decision has been taken this afternoon on the management of three key attractions in Cleethorpes.

The council's Cabinet has recommended that the management of three key attractions in Cleethorpes be transferred to an external provider.

It follows a review of the culture, heritage, leisure, sport and tourism offer across North East Lincolnshire by the council, including the management, maintenance and operational arrangements at Meridian Showground, the Discovery Centre and Cleethorpes Paddling Pool.

Lincs Inspire will be offered the option of taking on the services as part of their contract with the council to deliver leisure services across North East Lincolnshire, but if no agreement is reached, the attractions will be subject to a public procurement exercise to find a third party who wants to take them on.

If the management of the facilities are transferred, the move will save around £95,000 from the council's budget for 2017/18.

But a pledge was made at the meeting that any deal would include a condition that the Discovery Centre and paddling pool will remain free to use, after fears that a company running them might need to charge entry fees.

It has also prompted fears over the future of Cleethorpes as a resort, particularly with the loss of Pleasure Island last October.

Cllr Hazel Chase, portfolio holder for tourism, said: “The council is facing significant funding reductions and needs to look at delivering services more efficiently across the board. We understand how important the facilities are to the people of North East Lincolnshire and to our visitors, and we don't want to lose these. The facilities are well used, but it's no longer cost effective for the council to manage them: we need a partner to come on board to help us deliver quality events, leisure services and activities at these facilities."

The Discovery Centre was opened in 1997 and currently offers space for art exhibitions, as well as hosting two cafes and the ABP Observatory. It also has the children's sandpit and play area next to it and the paddling pool nearby.

The Meridian Showground opened in 2008, and has a four-acre grassed space for hosting a variety of outdoor events, including this year, the Race for Life, the Fake Festival, the Scooter Rally, the 1940s weekend and the Meridian Live weekend, featuring Craig David.

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