Members of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority agreed a proposal to secure the future of the popular National Park Visitor Centre in the hills outside Brecon. Proposals agreed at Friday’s meeting came from a Member/Officer working group which was set up last year in response to substantial budget cuts from Welsh Government. The working group considered the best way forward for the Centre – known locally as the Mountain Centre. The plan considered by members proposes a more commercial model intended to ensure the future of the Centre. The plan will mean that visitors continue to enjoy a visitor centre with amenities including toilets, car park, café, seasonal shop and information point.
There will be a change to how the Café and tea rooms are run – they will be made available as a franchise. Franchising out the café will offer a more sustainable model and a new commercial opportunity in the area – any businesses interested should contact the National Park Authority which will be following usual procurement processes. Existing catering staff are expected to retain their terms and conditions and move to the new franchise.
Members agreed that there would be a staffed information centre on the site throughout the high season backed up by an unstaffed information point in the winter months. In recognition of the way that visitors and residents often look for information now, the partnership run destination website www.breconbeacons.org will also be kept up to date. In the last financial year (March 2015 to April 2016 the site received 597 962 unique visitors.
Andrew Fryer, Chair of the Brecon Beacons Tourism board commented
“We are supporting these changes which we believe will enable the National Park Authority to continue taking an active role in promoting the tourism offer in the Park to our Visitors.”
The Authority will be working with existing information staff to look at available opportunities intended to keep redundancies to a minimum.
The proposal included continuing an events programme – the Authority is already working to secure funding for the food festival in October 2016. Going forward it was agreed to review the events timetable to make sure it is delivering what visitors want.
Melanie Doel, Chair of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority added
“I hope the decisions we have taken will lay the foundation for a stronger, more commercial Visitor Centre for the Brecon Beacons National Park giving our many Visitors a great experience and helping them find what they are looking for as they explore the National Park. I welcome the guidance and support we have received from our local business community as we have gone through this lengthy process and their support for the decisions we have made. We are meeting with staff and union representatives to make sure they are fully informed.