Day trippers desert town

THOUSANDS of visitors to Weston are being lost to Burnham and Brean - because people do not want to be dropped off outside the Tropicana

THOUSANDS of visitors to Weston are being lost to Burnham and Brean - because people do not want to be dropped off outside the Tropicana.Coach company bosses say the number of trips they run to the resort are at an all-time low and it is because day trippers are being put off by the walk from the former open-air pool to the town centre. Seaside traders are now calling on North Somerset to put in a temporary coach unloading bay nearer the town centre to encourage more visitors.Bosses at Marchant Coaches, who run trips to Weston from Gloucestershire, have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of customers wanting to visit the resort. The company has only run 13 trips to the town since January, compared to 22 this time last year.But trips to Brean have risen dramatically, with five visits already this year compared to two for the whole of 2005.Bosses say senior citizens prefer Brean and Burnham because coaches are allowed to drop people off near to the attractions.Marchant's sales manager Richard Warburton said: "Burnham and Brean are becoming more popular because you can drop people off by shops and cafes."We're running less trips to Weston and people are saying it's because they don't want to have to walk from the Tropicana."Johnsons runs more than 20 trips to Weston a year from Warwickshire. Bosses say they have received lots of complaints about the distance senior citizens have to walk from the coach drop-off point.Coaches visiting Burnham can park for free in Sedgemoor District Council's car park next to Somerfield in the town centre.Rod Brenner, joint managing director of Weston's Grand Pier, is calling on North Somerset Council to have a major re-think on how tourist traffic is managed.He said: "Just because we've always had coaches park outside the Tropicana doesn't mean it has to stay that way."A lot of day trippers are senior citizens and it's too far for them to have to walk to town, especially when the Tropicana isn't even open."John Crockford-Hawley, the council's executive member for transport, said he was happy to meet with traders about traffic concerns. He said: "As a town we need to do more to attract visitors generally.

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