Cash boost for attraction?

PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 May 2011

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge

Archant

THE company which manages a popular Cheddar tourist attraction is remaining tight-lipped about its future plans for the site.

Cheddar Caves and Gorge attracts thousands of visitors each year but its management company Longleat Estates is considering ‘significant investment’ in the village to boost and rejuvenate tourism.

The new chief executive of Longleat Estates, David Bradley, met with Sedgemoor District Council leader Duncan McGinty and chief executive Kerry Rickards recently to talk about these plans.

Cllr McGinty said in his latest report that the company has ‘put forward a discussion’ about how it is looking at investing cash to ‘improve the shoppers/tourist experience’ at the famous attraction owned by Lord Bath, alongside investments which have already been made at Longleat’s house, grounds and safari park in Wiltshire.

But when the Mercury asked Longleat Estates what was in the pipeline for Cheddar Caves and Gorge, a spokesman said it was too early to say.

He said: “I’m afraid we can’t be more specific about what we are going to be investing in for Cheddar at present as it is still very early stages.

“In addition to the new Costa Coffee which we launched recently we are looking to invest for the future in giving visitors new experiences to come and enjoy.”

A spokesman for Sedgemoor District Council said the discussion put forward by Longleat Estates was very ‘general in nature’ but the authority welcomed any improvements to enhance tourism and the local economy.

She added: “As we are the planning authority for Cheddar we would not be able to make any comment that may prejudice any planning application that may come forward in the future.

“We are very pro-business as can be seen with the major developments across Sedgemoor. Obviously, we welcome development that may attract more visitors to Cheddar and provide local employment and better facilities.”

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