Future Is Broght For The New Forest Centre
Some of you may recall an earlier campaign I was involved in, highlighting the issues around the New Forest Centre.
It is a very popular place to visit in Lyndhurst, almost entirely run by volunteers but threatened by the decision of the Tory Run New Forest District Council to withdraw funding for the facility and make the NFDC staff running the Visitor Centre part of it, redundant.
Well, things have moved on and I am pleased that the Centre appears to have a future.
It continues to be run by a charity, the Ninth Centenary Trust.
These days you can get a nice snack and drink in the centre, buy gifts in the shop and still enjoy free access to the museum part.
There is also a very important library, much valued by anyone carrying out research into the New Forest.
This week I was successful in persuading fellow members of the National Park Authority to make a grant of £5000 available to the Trust so that they can make the transition from the former use as a tourist information / Visitor centre to Heritige Centre.
The Trust will continue to provide education and information about the New Forest, serving an important purpose of the Park Authority, but what they do will be much better defined so as to make best use of the limited public funds available.
One example of the value of the New Forest Centre is that it is used to sell tickets for the New Forest Tour buses.
We have just had a record year with 40,000 passengers using the tour buses.
This has reduced car movements and given visitors a much better experience, travelling around the forest.