Posted by: ed | August 16, 2006

Bid to attract visitors

A LEAFLET campaign has been launched to promote historic Kinneil
Estate in Bo’ness.

The 5000 flyers have been produced by the group The Friends of Kinneil
in a response to pleas from local residents for better promotion of
the parkland.

A spokesperson said: “Local people have told us that Kinneil Estate is
a magical place, but needs to be marketed better.

“Many tourists coming to Bo’ness don’t know the Estate exists, and
miss out on visiting Kinneil’s museum and Roman fortlet, and
marvelling at the historic Kinneil House and its 12th century church.

“The Friends group was set up this year with the specific goals to
support and promote the estate. We believe that publishing the
leaflets – and producing other publicity materials – is a key part of
that work.”

The spokesperson added that the flyers were funded from members’
subscriptions – without the support of council grants. The leaflets
are now being distributed to tourist outlets.

Earlier this summer, BBC reporter Kate Fawcett visited Kinneil Estate
and described it as “breathtaking”.

However, she also told listeners to BBC Radio Scotland she didn’t know
of the existence of Kinneil Museum – which is threatened with closure.

“I’ve worked in central Scotland for more than 20 years and I must
confess that I didn’t even know this museum was here,” she said.

Falkirk Council is considering closing the museum, citing low visitor
numbers. The move has prompted anger from local residents, who are
fighting to keep it open. Locals say better marketing could help the
museum.

It is a view shared by the council’s former cultural services manager,
Jack Sanderson. In a letter to the Journal and Gazette, published
earlier this year, he said: “Visitor numbers for the museum are low
due to severely reduced opening hours. I believe if proper marketing,
signage and user-friendly opening hours could be put in place, visitor
numbers would be improved.”

The Council has proposed that the Museum – housed in a 17th century
former stable block – is closed and part of its collection transferred
to the revamped Hippodrome Cinema, two miles away in Bo’ness town
centre. Roman education work would also be transferred to Callendar
House in Falkirk.

To date, around 2300 residents have signed a petition calling for the
Kinneil Museum to be saved. In addition, 19 MSPs have backed a
Scottish Parliament motion calling for the museum to be retained. The
campaign has also been supported by heritage and community groups.

Councillors are due to debate the Kinneil issue at a meeting next month.

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