Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Uncertainty for area attractions

Old Town Jail Stirling
The jail was due to reopen for the 2009 tourist season

The long-term future of two attractions popular with visitors to the Stirling area is in doubt after tourism bosses said they would not open in 2009.

Stirling's Old Town Jail and the Breadalbane Folklore Centre in Killin had been due to reopen in the spring.

However, Stirling District Tourism, who oversee the attractions, said the economic downturn and a drop in visitor numbers had left them unsustainable.

SDT said there would be redundancies as a result of the move.

The charity said it had been in discussions with Stirling Council to secure additional funding to keep the attractions going but was unable to secure the cash.

It said that the Killin centre had been sustained in previous years by a surplus generated from visitors to other sites like the Wallace Monument.

'Good faith'

However, it said that a 10% drop in numbers across all its attractions had meant this was no longer an option.

The organisation's Carol Archibald said a planned refurbishment of Stirling's Old Town Jail, which closed in November, was taking much longer than planned and that funding for the project was also proving difficult to source.

She said: "The Old Town Jail is an important attraction, for Stirling as a visitor destination overall, but particularly for The Old Town, which is such a special part of the city.

"As operators of the attraction we are keen therefore to work with Stirling Council to find a structure which will enable The Old Town Jail to re-open and have a successful future as one of the city's "must see" destinations."

Wallce Monument
SDT said the Wallace Monument was helping to sustain the attractions

In a statement, Stirling council's Scott Farmer, portfolio holder for corporate resources and economy said he was disappointed at the news.

He added: "Stirling Council's administration have asked for an options paper to be brought to the next meeting of the Executive Committee to investigate ways of supporting the company.

"Visit Scotland have a management contract for SDT attractions and lease SDT managed accommodation at the Old Town Jail at a very modest rent.

"Given this relationship, Visit Scotland have a duty to take action to support SDT and ensure the future of these attractions."

A spokeswoman for Visit Scotland said they had accepted "in good faith" the Old Town Jail would be renovated and reopened in 2009.

She added: "VisitScotland continues to recognise the importance of Stirling as a tourism destination and it is regrettable that SDT have had to take the decision to close a popular tourist attraction."

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