Cumbria

Shopping role for Lake District visitor centres

Lake District
Image caption The Lake District attracts millions of visitors every year

Three Lake District visitor centres are to increase their retail operations to try to make up a financial shortfall due to government cuts.

Information centres in Keswick, Bowness and Ullswater already sell local goods, but have been urged to concentrate more on shopping and commercial services.

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) faces a 25% cut in its £7m government grant.

It said the centres' main role would continue to be providing information.

However, in future, it said the centres would "concentrate on providing retail and commercial services to holidaymakers, local businesses and residents."

LDNPA head of information services Steve Wray said: "It's been a really difficult 12 months for us with the unpredictable weather, a downturn in the national economy, and reduced spending power from our own visitors.

"But now we have an agreed strategy for dealing with the changes, I'm confident 2011 will be much better and our information centres have a vital role to play."

The authority is also looking for volunteers to help run the outlets.

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