Question on staff shortages at Hengistbury Head visitor centre

Staff shortages at Hengistbury Head visitor centre led to the attraction being closed over ‘one of the busiest weekends of the year’.

A question was asked at BCP Council’s full council meeting on Tuesday November 8, over the issue which led to the facility at the popular beauty spot being closed over August Bank Holiday.

Resident, Ian Clark, said: “I was visiting Hengistbury Head on Sunday August 28.

“I thought would be a good occasion to go in the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre. I was astonished to find the visitor centre closed and also to see it closed the previous day on Saturday and also on Bank Holiday Monday.

“I cannot understand on the busiest weekend of the year – the car park was full – why the visitor centre was closed.

“There would have been a lot of visitors that would have welcomed the information and products and probably spent quite a lot of money in the visitors centre.

“Why was the visitor centre not open over the bank holiday weekend.”

Cllr Mark Anderson, cabinet member for environment and place, said: “We endeavour to ensure Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre is open to the public to experience and to enjoy as much as possible.

“Regrettably this summer owing to marketplace recruitment difficulties and wider staff shortages we have been unable to always keep the visitor centre open as much as we would ordinarily seek to achieve and apologise for any disappointment this has caused.

“Working to a rota, those staff directly employed to manage the centre and the wider countryside team who are also based on site, work hard to ensure that closures are kept to a minimum.

“We are thankful to the volunteers who play a huge role in supporting the centre and keeping it operational and open to the public, however, a member of staff is required to always be on site with them and at times throughout this year this has not been possible.”

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