NEGOTIATIONS to keep Haworth’s Visitor Information Centre open by transferring it from Bradford Council to the Bronte Society have ended without success.

The news, confirmed by Bradford Council, was greeted with dismay by councillors who have been told there is no prospect of saving the facility.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford’s portfolio holder for environment, sport and culture, said: “We’ve had successes in transferring various council assets recently, with Ilkley Manor House for example and Ilkley’s visitor information centre which has continued with town council funding.

“In Saltaire the visitor information point is now in Victoria Hall.

“But despite everybody’s best efforts, sadly it wasn’t to be in Haworth’s case. It’s not always straightforward or viable to transfer services, as the Government pulls its funding. We want to thank the Bronte Society for their interest and for trying to make it happen.”

Worth Valley councillor Rebecca Poulsen responded: “Haworth Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is likely to now face closure. As ward councillors, we’re shocked and very concerned about how this will impact on tourism.

“The VIC provides a central source of information for visitors and is manned by knowledgeable, helpful staff. Tourism is a key Worth Valley revenue earner, but Bradford Council are again targeting services to support tourism.

“Businesses and jobs rely on tourists. We’ve been told for the last year that talks over the future of the VIC were positive and progressing well. It was a shock to be told these talks have ended without agreement.

“We understand budgets are under pressure but supporting tourism generates jobs and revenue so it’s short sighted to cut support to tourism.

“Haworth is the busiest VIC, yet Bradford VIC is staying open. Surely support to visitors should be where visitors actually go, not just in the city centre?”

“We’ll be asking urgent questions about the future of Haworth VIC. The area is Bradford district’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’ and the council needs to recognise this.”

Cllr David Mahon, chairman of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, said: “As a council we were surprised and really disappointed to learn the talks over Haworth VIC had ended unsuccessfully.

“The centre is an important part of the village, and I understand it’s the busiest visitor information centre in Bradford district. It will be very sad to lose it.”

Cllr Ferriby said: “Due to the extreme Government cuts to our district, the council’s net budget in 2020 will be around half what it was in 2010. By 2020 our main Government grant will be gone entirely, so we’re all being affected.

“That’s why we’re trying to do things differently and make best use of our shrinking funds, such as by shifting to more digital services and exploring ways of keeping centres open by working with partners.”