Potential shock closure of Tapton Lock Visitor Centre would be a “huge blow”

Tapton Lock vistitor centre, Chesterfield
Tapton Lock vistitor centre, Chesterfield

The possible shock closure of Tapton Lock Visitor Centre would be “terrible” and a “huge blow”, according to a Chesterfield Canal Trust spokesman.

Council bosses say the authority needs to save £157m by 2018 due to cuts in Government funding and people are now being urged to have their say on the consultation.

Unless another organisation comes forward to run the centre or an alternative use for the building can be found, it will be closed.

Rod Auton, publicity officer at the Chesterfield Canal Trust, said: “It will certainly be terrible for the Chesterfield Canal Trust and the people of Chesterfield.

“There are a lot of groups, young and old, who cycle and walk along the canal and stop at Tapton Lock because it is a good meeting point.

“I know that an awful lot of people are very shocked by the suggestion that it might close. It would leave a gap in a lot of people’s lives.

“It would be a huge blow.”

The Tapton Lock Visitor Centre provides people with information and hot and cold drinks. Boat licences are also issued at the centre and motability scooters can be hired.

Councillor Dean Collins, county council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said the Government cuts are giving them “no option” but to look to cut some front line services.

He said: “Unfortunately this includes us looking at the possibility of closing Tapton Lock Visitor Centre.

“We are doing all we can to find other organisations that would be either interested in running the centres, or using the buildings in some way. This could involve running similar services to what we offer at the moment, or could be a different type of service. We’d be delighted to hear from any organisation that would be interested.”

Any organisation interested in taking on the centre should contact Martin Dowson on 01629 539826 or email martin.dowson@derbyshire.gov.uk

The consultation closes on May 6. Visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/countrysideconsultation.