Pubs ‘left with tourism dregs’

VISITORS to Buxton are all being pushed towards the Pavilion Gardens to the detriment of the rest of the town – members of Buxton Pubwatch have claimed.

The group’s Chairman, Ken Howarth, said: “All roads lead to the Pavilion Gardens, even the tourist information has been moved in there.”

He said High Peak Borough Council, who own the facility, were trying to make it pay but it was at the expense of the rest of the town.

“It is a form of nepotism in favour of their own business – neglecting the rest of the town.”

The Pubwatch members are also unhappy that the Christmas light switch-on was moved to the Pavilion Gardens after the event had previously been developed around the town’s large Christmas tree on the Market Place.

Councillor Ian Huddlestone, Executive member for Regeneration, told the Advertiser he was looking into the concerns raised.

“I met members of Pubwatch recently and am now working with event organisers, council officials and fellow councillors to understand the extent to which we can address Pubwatch’s concerns while continuing to promote the Pavilion Gardens as effectively as possible.

“Our ongoing commitment to the marketing of the Pavilion Gardens recognises its major importance to the local economy and the fact that, each year, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who then explore many of the other fine shops, restaurants and pubs in the town centre.

“In 2008/09, excluding the Gardens themselves, the venue attracted 483,150 visitors. In 2009/10, the comparable figure was 544,170, rising by 4.4 per cent to 565,639 last year.”

In the current financial year, visitors to the end of last month (August) totalled 359,509, giving a 40,786 or 12.8 per cent in-year increase.

“This significant growth is attributable partly to the opening of the Pavilion Arts Centre and to the fair weather in April and July,” said Cllr Huddlestone.

“With visits to the gardens taken into account, total visitors last year are estimated to be close to one million.”