Corby opposition vow not to give up on tourism proposals

Rockingham Castle is one of Corby's tourism jewels, say the Conservatives
Rockingham Castle is one of Corby's tourism jewels, say the Conservatives

The ‘Team Corby’ Conservatives have vowed that their proposals to invest £100,000 in making Corby the entertainment capital of the East Midlands are still very much alive, despite being voted down by Corby Council’s ruling Labour Group last week.

The Conservatives say they are disappointed their motion was not approved by the council, but have pledged to resurrect their proposals through the council’s overview and scrutiny panel.

The Conservatives’ leader in Corby, Cllr Rob McKellar, has attacked the council’s Labour administration, saying the ruling group is stuck in the past and it is holding back Corby.

At a meeting of the full council last Thursday, Labour councillors acknowledged the benefits the Conservative motion would bring but argued that Conservative plans to incorporate leisure services into a trust fund were not sustainable. The Tories say that their proposal is fully costed year on year.

At the meeting Cllr McKellar said: “Following a Conservative motion in 2013 the Corby Visitor Forum and Love Corby website were established.

“The visitor forum has a vast range of expertise, but would benefit profoundly from the enhanced financial resources and man-hours that this motion would deliver.

“Today we have a unique opportunity. We have the opportunity to invest £100,000 every year in marketing Corby as a great place to visit, without having to make any cuts to services to pay for it.

“By incorporating leisure services into a trust we will save £100,000 in VAT and non-domestic rates.”

Also during the debate, Conservative culture and leisure spokesman Cllr Kevin Watt said: “The UK tourism industry is forecast to be worth over £257bn by 2025.

“And we want our bit of that pie.

“Since 2010 in employment terms tourism has been the fastest growing sector in the UK with a net increase of 173,000 jobs.

“By 2013 nearly 10 per cent of all UK jobs were in tourism with the industry employing more than three million people.”

Labour leader Cllr Tom Beattie and Labour’s lead member for communities, Cllr John McGhee, both spoke against the motion.

Speaking afterwards Cllr McKellar said: “During the meeting it was clear that Labour councillors did recognise the merit of what we were proposing, but ultimately they ran away scared from this new and innovative idea.

“The ‘Team Corby’ Conservatives want to bring the council into the 21st century and deliver all kinds of exciting opportunities for Corby and its surrounding villages.

“The problem is that the council’s ruling Labour administration are stuck in the past. They are holding Corby back!”

The tourism proposal is just one of several policy announcements by the Corby Conservatives in recent months.

Others include a pledge to keep development to urban, brownfield sites, to promote high-tech job creation for Corby in the green sector and to campaign in support of our emergency services.