Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival wins Tourism Award

Congratulations to the organisers of the Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival – Paul and Emma Morris of The Chocolate Cafe, and Ruth Shedwick and her Town Centres Team from Bury Council, on winning the Manchester Tourism Award 2012 for Best Small Event of the Year (up to 50,000 visitors).

This is testament to the hard work put in by local businesses in partnership with Bury Council to make our town a success.

This is why I strongly object to the proposals by our Labour-controlled Council to slash the Borough’s tourism budget by one third.

The proposed cuts to the tourism budget will involve the loss of 3 ½ full time equivalent posts from the Tourist Information Centre and the Town Centre Team from a total of 5 members of staff.

The fantastic work undertaken by local traders and Ramsbottom Business Group to promote the town and bring in the tourist trade is clearly under threat from these proposals.

The Town Centre Team provide much needed support and assistance when planning events – helping with promotion and all the red tape such as licensing issues, road closures etc.   Most of the activities in Ramsbottom town centre are organised and promoted in some way by Bury Council’s Town Centre team – including the Chocolate Festival, Farmers Markets, Christmas Markets etc.

To remove this support would put overwhelming additional pressure on local traders – who are already working hard in their own businesses in these difficult economic times.   Now is not the time to cut this type of service.  Instead, Bury Council should be encouraging greater tourism into Ramsbottom to help promote the town and its businesses.

I would urge the leading Labour Group on Bury Council to rethink these proposals – and put forward sensible alternatives that support our local businesses.

I would ask local residents to respond to the consultation being undertaken by Bury Council.