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Burnham on Sea gains coach friendly status.

27th March 2014

Categories: News

                                                                   

Burnham Information and Rescue Support
THE ESPLANADE, BURNHAM-ON-SEA, SOMERSET TA8 1BU

PROJECT COACH – BURNHAM-ON-SEA PRESS RELEASE 25/3/14

Burnham-on-sea has for the last couple of years been trying to lure more coaches into the town through an initiative set up by Burnham Information and Rescue Support (the local information centre). Project Coach was given a boost through funding by the Burnham and Highbridge Town Council in July 2013.

Today we are pleased to announce that Burnham-on-Sea has become the first Town or City in the South-West to receive the accreditation of “Coach Friendly Status” by the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT).

The CPT is a National body who oversee all matters relating to passenger transport and consult with government on changes that will affect passenger transport.

Project coach has been co-ordinated by Les Barber – Coach Destination Manager and Ian Jefferies – Business and Tourism Manager.

To meet the standards set for this accreditation a destination needs to demonstrate that they have a clear commitment to understanding the needs of the coach, its passengers and driver both in terms of what has and is being achieved together with firm commitments for the future. Some of the many things put in place by Project Coach have been, meeters and greeters to welcome the coaches, free meals and a newspaper for drivers, a drivers rest room away from passengers, a clearly signed route into the town, free coach parking, drivers and passenger information packs and many more incentives.

John Burch - South West Regional Manager, CPT UK said "The community of Burnham On Sea have demonstrated that they realise the power of the coach by pulling out all the stops to achieve Coach Friendly Status. They have ensured that coaches can park completely FREE of charge in their seaside coach park. What's more the coaches come to a stand-still just yards from a bustling seaside High Street with everything that passengers could possibly need. Perhaps better still, the driver is well catered for too, with a newspaper provided and a quiet area where he/she can enjoy a meal or cuppa and take a break and unwind. Whether the coach is making a brief comfort stop or paying the seaside town a longer visit, customers will find a really enthusiastic welcome awaiting them. Operators can even arrange for a meet and greet facility with the Town Crier in his full regalia if they want a bit of fun for customers making a longer visit. This is exactly what CPT is looking for. Even more important in many ways though, will be the regular feedback and statistical analysis of coaches visiting the town which is a requirement of the scheme. This is now giving CPT excellent data to persuade more towns to participate and realise the spending power of coach passengers in their town. Burnham has ongoing plans to do even more and we congratulate them on achieving Coach Friendly Status."

Les Barber – Coach Destination Manager said “we are delighted at receiving coach friendly status as this is a great accolade for the town, the people and businesses of Burnham-on-Sea. We have come a long way since the National Coach Tourism Awards last year and it’s great this has been recognised. We would like to thank the businesses, community groups and Local Authorities who have helped us to reach the standard and for their faith and funding of project coach. This recognition is for everyone in the town and undoubtedly will help the local economy especially after the bad start Somerset in general has suffered this year with the dreadful floods. Now is the perfect time to move on with putting the “buzz” back in Burnham and continue the work with our neighbours in Weston-Super-Mare promoting that we are the “Seaside of the M5”.

Ian Jefferies – Business and Tourism Manager said “To achieve one of the biggest awards in the coaching industry that a town can receive is outstanding for a town of our size. Many bigger towns and cities have been trying for a long time to gain this accreditation without success. This is result of a lot of hard work put in by many organisations and businesses within the community and the timing of this could not have come better after many businesses reporting downturns in what has been a very difficult winter within our region. Hopefully, this award will encourage even more coaches into Burnham knowing they will get well looked after and make a big difference to the towns economy. This award is only given if commitments are made for the future and this could not have happened without the backing of Sedgemoor District Council and Burnham and Highbridge Council”.

Martin Cox – Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge said “On behalf of Burnham & Highbridge Town Council we wish to congratulate ‘Project Coach’ and particularly Ian Jefferies and Les Barber, on achieving Coach friendly status for our town. We were very pleased to support this project in July 2013 and it is amazing progress since then. It has taken 9 months of hard work and dedication to reach this goal and also the 12 Months work prior to project coach coming to our council for support. Each extra coach averages say 30 passengers who can then spend locally £5 –£10 each when even on a short stop visit. This means so much to our town and particularly to all the traders, bringing in much needed extra business, more prosperity and ultimately more jobs into our area. Well done ‘Project Coach’”.

Mark Newman - Chairman of Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Trade, said: "We are delighted that Burnham has gained coach friendly status. Traders here have given their full support to encouraging more coach visitors into Burnham and they are already benefiting through increased footfall and business. At a time when the economic vibrancy of our town centre is so important, this is a very welcome boost."

Claire Faun – Corporate relations Manager, Sedgemoor District Council said “Sedgemoor District Council is thrilled to learn that Burnham-on-Sea is the first town in the south west to have been awarded the ‘coach-friendly’ status.  The Council recognises the need of coaches and their passengers are catered for both in terms of pick up and set down facilities and parking”.

Cllr Duncan McGinty – leader of Sedgemoor District Council added “Awards such as these show that tourism providers in the town have thought about the requirements of coach passengers and companies.  These awards do not just happen by accident and it shows the dedication of the team at Burnham who have gone out of their way to show that Burnham on Sea is a first-class destination for coaches”.

Picture also attached – on left Mr Les Barber, on right Mr Ian Jefferies in the Burnham-on-Sea coach park

NOTE TO EDITORS: Please call Les or Ian for more information, details below

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