Agenda item


Members gave consideration to a report presented by the Senior Growth Strategy & Projects Officer, regarding the draft West Lindsey Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan for approval. Members heard that in late 2019 West Lindsey District Council began the drafting of a Visitor Economy Strategy to support the Corporate Plan ambition of ‘a vibrant visitor economy’. A draft of the strategy was initially developed however, in early 2020, resources were diverted into the delivery of the Covid-19 business grants and work on the strategy was delayed. Although the Corporate Plan aspiration for the visitor economy remained, the national and regional policy environment, as well as the sector itself, had shifted significantly since the strategy was first drafted in 2019.


It was explained that the Council was successful in receiving support from the Local Government Association Economic Growth Advisor Programme. Planning Solutions Consulting were appointed by the Local Government Association to support the Council with the development of a Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan, building on the work developed in late 2019.


The Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan had been drafted in consultation with key stakeholders. It was vital that the process of identifying new opportunities and developing the Visitor Economy Strategy must align with and embrace the needs and aspirations of stakeholders involved in the visitor economy. The consultations were carried out through one-to-one discussions with Officers and Members and key partners including the County Council, East Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire Wolds AONB, Visit Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire. Virtual workshops were held online to discuss the action plan with key stakeholder groups such as tourism businesses including key attraction and accommodation representatives. It was highlighted that the Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan had been developed and endorsed by Members of the Leisure, Culture, Events and Tourism subgroup.


Members heard that, as previously reported to the Committee, the Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan would feed into the development of a Cultural Plan for West Lindsey. The findings from the research had been compiled in a draft report which included an action plan with a suite of detailed interventions and initiatives which responded to the vision to create a community-led destination that develops, refines and presents an authentic responsible tourism product with a focus on sustainability and community benefits.


The Chairman thanked the Officer for her thorough presentation and invited comments from Members of the Committee. Members were supportive of the strategy and associated action plan, however it was highlighted that the Council needed to take responsibility for the implementation of the strategy and drive it forward. Members highlighted the many and varied attractions for tourists across the district, not just the market towns and Lincoln fringe.


During the discussion on the Visitor Economy item Members noted that the currently proposed Solar Farm developments had the potential to pose a serious threat to the Visitor Economy. In particular concern was raised around a potential impact on the visual amenity and accessibility of open spaces across the District. During this debate wider impacts were also noted with particular concerns raised regarding the potential loss of land for the purpose of agriculture, specifically food production.


Officers noted these concerns, both in terms of the impact on the Visitor Economy and the wider economic impacts, and offered assurance that these would be picked up and referenced during the Local Impact Assessment stage of each of the development proposals.


Members further discussed the wide-ranging attractions across the district, from golf courses, to the Lincolnshire Wolds, to local theatre, as well as Farmers’ Markets, the Viking Way, Lincolnshire Showground, Market Rasen race course, as well as many other events and attractions listed by Members of the Committee.


There was great support for the strategy, and recognition of the importance of it, with a clear understanding that the Council needed to deliver against the plan.


Having been moved and seconded, the Chairman took the vote and it was unanimously


            RESOLVED that


a)    the draft West Lindsey Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan be approved; and


b)    updates on progress and performance against the agreed strategy and action plan be received from the Leisure, Culture, Events and Tourism Sub Group.

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