COMMUNITY groups could step in to save three axe-threatened tourist offices across the district.

Bradford Council has placed the future of its four visitor information centres under review, and consultants have recommended closing the offices in the tourist hotspots of Haworth, Saltaire and Ilkley, and only retaining the one in central Bradford.

A formal decision is due to be taken soon by council bosses, but already community groups have been stepping in with plans to save their local tourist offices.

A new council report, going before the authority’s regeneration overview and scrutiny committee today, says the Brontë Society has submitted proposals to take over the running of Haworth’s tourist office at the junction of West Lane and Main Street, with the aim of keeping it open in its current location.

It says: “This will provide strategic benefits for both organisations: it will provide the Society with a prominent Main Street presence in the town, including much-needed office space, while maintaining a Visitor Information Centre service in Haworth, promoting tourism across the entire Bradford district.”

Bradford Council has to save £172,000 from its tourism budget in the coming year.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, executive member for environment, sport and culture, said they are “working extremely hard” to save servies, where possible.

She added: “So, it’s really encouraging we are having positive discussions with communities who are interested in taking on all sorts of local assets, including visitor information centres.

“We have consulted with residents and, as part of the review, recommendations have been made on options for visitor information centres, but the final decision has yet to be made.”

Shipley councillor Martin Love (Green) said a group of volunteers were hoping to take over the running of Saltaire’s tourist office, and are considering moving it from its current location – a leased space within Salts Mill.

He said they are looking into whether they could convert the council-owned former public toilets in Caroline Street into a new visitor centre.

He said he hopes this is successful, adding it would be “utterly ridiculous” for a UNESCO World Heritage Site not to have a tourist information office.

Mr Love said: “I campaigned for years to get a tourist information centre in Saltaire and it has been there for a few years now and getting reasonable attendance.

“Unfortunately, the location isn’t perfect, but to have nothing at all in a World Heritage Site, given the fact Bradford uses Saltaire to promote itself, I think would be disastrous.”

The report also says Ilkley Parish Council is considering funding two members of staff to retain a visitor information centre at Ilkley Library, in Station Road.