Rochdale spends £65K on tourism consultations

by Emily DUNBAR on February 4, 2011

The notoriously dull town of Rochdale in Greater Manchester has been criticised for spending £65,000 on consultations on how to increase tourism. Rather than creating any new attractions, Yorkshire marketing firm Thinkingplace was paid the money just to give their vision of the future of Rochdale and advise on how to improve its reputation.

The bill was only revealed after new rules came in forcing councils to disclose any expenses above £500. The revelations have angered taxpayers who are being hit hard by central government’s budget cuts.

The consultation project is described on the Thinkingplace website as a programme to create a “new story” for the town through an intense approach. After seven months of work from July 2009, however, all that was noticeably created was the company’s vision of what the town would be like in 15 years.

The project, called “Creating a unique place led community strategy for Rochdale Borough” also came up with reasons while people would want to visit or live in the area. After complaints from local residents about the “pointless waste of money”, the council have defended the spending claiming it was important to highlight Rochdale’s strengths before a comprehensive plan on how to attract tourism and investment was drafted.

Like all UK councils, Rochdale is faced with having to make huge savings due to government budget cuts. It is already one of the poorest towns in Britain but must now squeeze a further £65 million out of residents.

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