Somerset

Private firm to run Weston-super-Mare tourism sites

Playhouse
Image caption Affected staff will be transferred to Parkwood Leisure Ltd

Three of Weston-super-Mare's tourist attractions are to be handed to private firms to run.

North Somerset Council has awarded Parkwood Leisure a 10-year deal to run the Winter Gardens, Playhouse Theatre and tourist information service.

Parkwood will initially provide £250,000 to upgrade the existing facilities at the Winter Gardens.

The council will also spend £100,000 moving tourist information to the Winter Gardens.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said he estimated the saving to the council to be £1.9m over the 10-year period.

"Moving tourist information will allow the existing site on the Beach Lawns to be redeveloped," he added.

The new contract, which has the option of a further five-year extension, starts in April 2011.

Parkwood will be responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the Winter Gardens, Playhouse Theatre and tourist information, plus any internal repairs.

The council will retain responsibility for structural repairs and external maintenance of the buildings.

Affected staff will be transferred to Parkwood which also manages Hutton Moor, Backwell and Scotch Horn leisure centres on behalf of the council.

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