Nottingham

Sherwood Forest and National Water Sports Centre private sector plea

Nottinghamshire County Council has appealed to the private sector and charities to help it run two major tourist attractions.

The authority wants help to set up a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest and to run the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont.

A council spokesperson said it wanted investors with expertise who can help the centres to make a profit.

The proposals will be considered by the council's cabinet on 14 September.

The council wants a new visitor centre to be up and running at Sherwood Forest by 2014.

Councillor John Cottee, cabinet member for culture and community services, said: "The present site is nearly 40 years old and, although well-loved, doesn't provide the full visitor experience that people expect in 2011.

"County council funds are limited and to build a visitor centre that the forest and its famous legend deserve will need significant investment."

'Positive future'

Several designs for a new centre in the forest have been drawn up over the past five years and it failed in a bid to win Lottery funding in 2007.

The council took over the running of the water sports centre in 2009 from Sport England.

The facility costs the authority £350,000 a year to run which will increase to £800,000 when Sport England funding ends.

Councillor Cottee said a new visitor centre and the refurbishment of existing facilities needed to take place at the site over the next 10 years.

"The county council is committed to securing a long term positive future for the NWSC with high quality leisure facilities for community and elite use.

"We do not want to burden the taxpayer so a partner with expertise in this industry will be the best way to help us achieve our ambition," he said.

The contract for the Sherwood Forest visitor centre is expected to be awarded in spring 2012, with the Holme Pierrepont one being handed over in December 2012.

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