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Wells community team to prepare a strategy for handling infrastructure strains brought on by growing tourism

PUBLISHED: 13:23 11 May 2017

The Quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

The Quay at Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

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Wells is coming together to produce a plan on how the community can manage the town’s growing popularity as a tourist destination.

The Destination Management Plan is being produced by the Wells Coastal Communities Team with the goal of creating a guide for how the town will handle the strain that the yearly growth in tourism is bringing to the town.

Melanie Harriss, chair of communities team, said: “The Destination Management Plan will take into account the needs of local residents, businesses, visitors and the environment and once agreed should act as a tool to lead and influence the management of all aspects of Wells as a destination.”

The team will spend the next few months seeking the views of local businesses, residents and visitors, including the town council, the harbour commissioners, Wells Maltings and Alderman Peel High School.

Allen Frary, chairman of Wells Town Council, said: “Tourism has been increasing not just during bank holidays and schools holiday but also throughout the rest of the year. Sometimes our car parks are full even in the middle of winter, when years ago the town would have been quiet. The amount of tourism we now receive has increased dramatically.”

He continued: “It has been the council’s aim to look at the overall tourism situation within the town and how it can be better managed. We are aware of this plan and hopefully it will dovetail in with the work we are doing ourselves. We already have certain proposals that we would like to see considered by highways and the county council and hopefully this work will go someway into helping what we have planned.”

The project development manager of Wells Maltings, Becky Jefcoate, said: “Wells receives more and more visitors to the town every year and they play a huge part in supporting the local economy, providing jobs in retail, catering and accommodation. However we need to look at the infrastructure that supports those visits including sorting out issues like parking so that their visit is a pleasant one.”

She added: “I think there is significant potential to extend the tourist season, and attract more people to the town all year round rather than just over the summer months. The plan will consider this and help us understand what is feasible, sustainable and realistic.”

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