Advice on reviewing the management of tourist and cultural sites

The Severn Theater is one of the county’s main tourist attractions

Shropshire Council is looking for a consultancy firm to carry out the review of culture and tourism management in the county.

This could lead to changes in the way some of the county’s largest and most popular sights and places to visit, including the Severn Theater in Shrewsbury and Severn Valley National Park, are managed.

A memorandum outlining the reasons for the review says the council wants to make operations more commercial in a bid to reduce the risk of its £3.2m budget cut.

A council report says it wants to know if the county’s cultural and tourist assets can be “more financially secure”.

He says: ‘The aim of this work is to establish whether a new operating model could help ensure that Shropshire Council’s cultural and tourism services deliver better results, are more financially secure and are more strongly supported.’

The council is responsible for a number of venues across the county including Severn Theatre, Old Market Hall Cinema, Severn Valley National Park, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Shrewsbury Castle, the Much Wenlock Museum, the Shropshire Museum Collections Center and the Atcham Store. Shropshire Archives, Coleham and The Mere Pumping Station in Ellesmere.

The authority says it wants to reduce overall annual revenue costs, but adds that it is possible to increase the amount of money generated by its cultural assets, with more investment in staff and the attractions themselves.

The report describes the main issues as ‘threats to the annual revenue budget for these services of £3.28million a year’.

He adds: “These can be mitigated by making services more commercial and increasing revenue, but this will require investment in staff and assets.”

The report says the council wants to review “the occupancy, management and upkeep of each of the facilities”,

The council has already agreed on a major project to try to revitalize one of its most important sites, with a partnership between the Shrewsbury Museum & Art Galley and the British Museum due to open in 2024.

The partnership gallery will redevelop the Shrewsbury Museum’s Bronze Age exhibits to present a “dedicated and dynamic account of local life from the Ice Age to the Romans”.

It will use long-term loans from the British Museum and reorganize the Shrewsbury Museum’s own collection in the former music hall.