Hollytrees to shut on Sundays

Hollytrees to shut on Sundays

Hollytrees to shut on Sundays

First published in News

A COLCHESTER museum will close on Sundays in a costcutting move.

Hollytrees Museum, in Colchester’s Castle Park, will stop opening on Sundays from April.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for culture, claimed Government cuts meant the move was necessary.

The Visitor Information Centre, which recently moved from Queen Street, will also be shut on Sundays.

Former information centre employee Pat Caplin criticised the decision, which emerged days after the Gazette revealed five million tourist trips were made to Colchester in 2012.

She said: “If they have to close for a day, why not a Monday like the Natural History Musuem?

“Tourist attractions should be open at weekends because that is when people visit. We need to show people we are open for business on a Sunday.”

Read the full story in today's Gazette.

Comments (23)

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2:09pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Jess Jephcott says...

It beggars belief. The lunatics really are running the asylum.
It beggars belief. The lunatics really are running the asylum. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 16

2:38pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Bert_Stimpson says...

Well, at least the £28m Firsts*ite toilet block will still be open (although hopefully not for too much longer). We all know the five million figure is a joke statistic, so stop quoting it, or at least point out the glaring flaws in the research methodology.

Stupid decision. Stupid Council. Slowly killing this town...
Well, at least the £28m Firsts*ite toilet block will still be open (although hopefully not for too much longer). We all know the five million figure is a joke statistic, so stop quoting it, or at least point out the glaring flaws in the research methodology. Stupid decision. Stupid Council. Slowly killing this town... Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 11

2:43pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Reginald47 says...

Wake up chaps and smell the coffee.
Wake up chaps and smell the coffee. Reginald47
  • Score: 5

3:53pm Fri 21 Feb 14

wormshero says...

Closing it Monday really would make an awful lot more sense. How sad.
Closing it Monday really would make an awful lot more sense. How sad. wormshero
  • Score: 20

4:16pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Say It As It Is OK? says...

Tim (not nice but dim) Young does it again.
Tim (not nice but dim) Young does it again. Say It As It Is OK?
  • Score: 11

4:21pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Scoot says...

Oh come on folks CBC have probably been told that the foot fall in Tescos is far greater on Sundays than during the rest of the week (after all isn't Colchester 'Tesco' town). Therefore without considering that visitors to the town and castle (next door) may be greater at the weekend they've made this decision.
Oh come on folks CBC have probably been told that the foot fall in Tescos is far greater on Sundays than during the rest of the week (after all isn't Colchester 'Tesco' town). Therefore without considering that visitors to the town and castle (next door) may be greater at the weekend they've made this decision. Scoot
  • Score: -2

4:58pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Route88 says...

I would suspect that Hollytrees enjoys more genuine visitors that Firstsite although the toilet facilities may not be so good! What a stupid decision.
I would suspect that Hollytrees enjoys more genuine visitors that Firstsite although the toilet facilities may not be so good! What a stupid decision. Route88
  • Score: 9

5:21pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Jess Jephcott says...

What delight for Mr Young to be able to blame the Tories for this. Wrong person in charge of tourism? I couldn't possibly say.
What delight for Mr Young to be able to blame the Tories for this. Wrong person in charge of tourism? I couldn't possibly say. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 2

6:03pm Fri 21 Feb 14

mirokou says...

So you close a museum on a day when families are off and enjoying a day in the park and when tourists visit ..Brilliant ! well worth your expenses time and effort…Are this current bunch of idiots determined to drag Colchester down even further..Perhaps we could turn it into more housing for the shameless underclass brigade who seem to dominate our borough, they seem to enjoy the Town centre.
So you close a museum on a day when families are off and enjoying a day in the park and when tourists visit ..Brilliant ! well worth your expenses time and effort…Are this current bunch of idiots determined to drag Colchester down even further..Perhaps we could turn it into more housing for the shameless underclass brigade who seem to dominate our borough, they seem to enjoy the Town centre. mirokou
  • Score: 9

6:05pm Fri 21 Feb 14

mirokou says...

Jess Jephcott wrote:
What delight for Mr Young to be able to blame the Tories for this. Wrong person in charge of tourism? I couldn't possibly say.
oh yes we could..Wouldn't put the man in charge of anything . A position gifted and clearly punching above his weight
[quote][p][bold]Jess Jephcott[/bold] wrote: What delight for Mr Young to be able to blame the Tories for this. Wrong person in charge of tourism? I couldn't possibly say.[/p][/quote]oh yes we could..Wouldn't put the man in charge of anything . A position gifted and clearly punching above his weight mirokou
  • Score: -5

7:07pm Fri 21 Feb 14

angryman!!! says...

Disgusted.bafled.rid
iculios.annoyed. What can you say! If anyone from the council dares to say to talk about tourism they deserve a smack. Why not convert it into cheap flats and be done with it! Great news with the castle about to re open soon.
Disgrace to the town!
Disgusted.bafled.rid iculios.annoyed. What can you say! If anyone from the council dares to say to talk about tourism they deserve a smack. Why not convert it into cheap flats and be done with it! Great news with the castle about to re open soon. Disgrace to the town! angryman!!!
  • Score: 2

7:31pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Jess Jephcott says...

The sadness here is that we have people putting themselves forward as councillors for very laudable reasons. They clearly have a yearning to serve the community and from what I see they do very will ward by ward for the people they represent. But none of them seem to have any interest in our heritage assets and the wealth that it surely must bring to the town. I don't know any of our councillors that attend local archaeology or history based lectures or meetings. Firstsite is a national joke because it has no art on display. So we have a situation where somebody who detests the Tories and, by implication, the LibDems too, actively closing down our visitor attractions (do I need to name them?) and blaming the government that he hates for it happening. ..and who are the losers when this party political spitefulness is being allowed to go on?
The sadness here is that we have people putting themselves forward as councillors for very laudable reasons. They clearly have a yearning to serve the community and from what I see they do very will ward by ward for the people they represent. But none of them seem to have any interest in our heritage assets and the wealth that it surely must bring to the town. I don't know any of our councillors that attend local archaeology or history based lectures or meetings. Firstsite is a national joke because it has no art on display. So we have a situation where somebody who detests the Tories and, by implication, the LibDems too, actively closing down our visitor attractions (do I need to name them?) and blaming the government that he hates for it happening. ..and who are the losers when this party political spitefulness is being allowed to go on? Jess Jephcott
  • Score: -1

7:55pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Boris says...

The Castle is meant to be re-opening at just about the same time as this stupid move at Hollytrees. I agree with those who say that if a museum has to close one day a week, it should be on Mondays. Scoot says that on Sundays "everyone" is busy shopping in boring supermarkets. Tim Young's move seems designed to bring this about.
The Castle is meant to be re-opening at just about the same time as this stupid move at Hollytrees. I agree with those who say that if a museum has to close one day a week, it should be on Mondays. Scoot says that on Sundays "everyone" is busy shopping in boring supermarkets. Tim Young's move seems designed to bring this about. Boris
  • Score: 8

8:19pm Fri 21 Feb 14

colcestrian says...

This timing of this decision hilarious, coming just days after the value of tourism in Colchester was put at £311 million ! I wonder what it will be next year ? If its a case of not being able to afford to pay the staff for working on Sundays, why cant they use the £345,000 they are trying to get for the old tourism building, that would pay the wages for a good few years ! If not what will the money be used for !
This timing of this decision hilarious, coming just days after the value of tourism in Colchester was put at £311 million ! I wonder what it will be next year ? If its a case of not being able to afford to pay the staff for working on Sundays, why cant they use the £345,000 they are trying to get for the old tourism building, that would pay the wages for a good few years ! If not what will the money be used for ! colcestrian
  • Score: 8

8:26pm Fri 21 Feb 14

stevedawson says...

Clacton prospective mp,stupid, no chance.guess.
Clacton prospective mp,stupid, no chance.guess. stevedawson
  • Score: 1

8:45pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Route88 says...

stevedawson wrote:
Clacton prospective mp,stupid, no chance.guess.
Considering some of the self-serving idiots that are MPs, there is every chance!
[quote][p][bold]stevedawson[/bold] wrote: Clacton prospective mp,stupid, no chance.guess.[/p][/quote]Considering some of the self-serving idiots that are MPs, there is every chance! Route88
  • Score: 4

10:29pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Assimilation says...

Boris wrote:
The Castle is meant to be re-opening at just about the same time as this stupid move at Hollytrees. I agree with those who say that if a museum has to close one day a week, it should be on Mondays. Scoot says that on Sundays "everyone" is busy shopping in boring supermarkets. Tim Young's move seems designed to bring this about.
Yes, all the people from Colchester and the surrounding areas might be shopping at Tesco and the like, but visiting tourists come to see the history. But the way it`s going, all the history will be shut.

Good thinking Batman.
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: The Castle is meant to be re-opening at just about the same time as this stupid move at Hollytrees. I agree with those who say that if a museum has to close one day a week, it should be on Mondays. Scoot says that on Sundays "everyone" is busy shopping in boring supermarkets. Tim Young's move seems designed to bring this about.[/p][/quote]Yes, all the people from Colchester and the surrounding areas might be shopping at Tesco and the like, but visiting tourists come to see the history. But the way it`s going, all the history will be shut. Good thinking Batman. Assimilation
  • Score: 0

11:38pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Hamiltonandy says...

As the government funding cuts are happening year after year it is obvious more and more council services will be cut. So it is puzzling Colchester Council refuses to consult the public over priorities.
.
The lack of democratic accountability means people see no reason to help the council achieve its goals. Its obsession with "cultural business" has ensured the "cultural quarter" will remain a shameful abandoned and derelict area. How much longer will they keep propping up the VAF both by direct subsidies and paying for most of the repairs?
.
I have repeatedly told the council that they have lost three government grants, the last being the P&R, because their reputation stinks in government circles. But the council seems paralysed, unable to change their ideas, regardless of the facts.
.
Even worse it the mismanagement of surplus assets. For example, five acres of Hythe land has been given to a developer with no guarantee of any return. Naturally the developer will do the minimum but ensure the inflated clean up costs will leave little benefit in the way of social housing. Of course when the pollution causes problems to the residents, the developer will be long gone. The council could have accepted the proposal of a memorial park as charitable funds had been raised to landscape it. That would still have left them the option for later development.
As the government funding cuts are happening year after year it is obvious more and more council services will be cut. So it is puzzling Colchester Council refuses to consult the public over priorities. . The lack of democratic accountability means people see no reason to help the council achieve its goals. Its obsession with "cultural business" has ensured the "cultural quarter" will remain a shameful abandoned and derelict area. How much longer will they keep propping up the VAF both by direct subsidies and paying for most of the repairs? . I have repeatedly told the council that they have lost three government grants, the last being the P&R, because their reputation stinks in government circles. But the council seems paralysed, unable to change their ideas, regardless of the facts. . Even worse it the mismanagement of surplus assets. For example, five acres of Hythe land has been given to a developer with no guarantee of any return. Naturally the developer will do the minimum but ensure the inflated clean up costs will leave little benefit in the way of social housing. Of course when the pollution causes problems to the residents, the developer will be long gone. The council could have accepted the proposal of a memorial park as charitable funds had been raised to landscape it. That would still have left them the option for later development. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 3

12:36am Sat 22 Feb 14

Assimilation says...

Hamiltonandy says... "The council could have accepted the proposal of a memorial park as charitable funds had been raised to landscape it."
Hands up and gasps of horor. Landscaped ? open space ? NO NO NO. Rip out all the trees, shrubs and bushes and put more student boxes there
Hamiltonandy says... "The council could have accepted the proposal of a memorial park as charitable funds had been raised to landscape it." Hands up and gasps of horor. Landscaped ? open space ? NO NO NO. Rip out all the trees, shrubs and bushes and put more student boxes there Assimilation
  • Score: 5

9:21am Mon 24 Feb 14

romantic says...

This does seem utterly ridiculous, especially with the Castle re-opening soon. In more switched-on towns, these attractions would be actively marketed. In Colchester, we have a council which seems unable to comprehend how much there is here for visitors to see. I have a regular visitor here who is still able to find new and interesting places to see, even after several visits.

We have a council with 7 levels of management, which still spends hundreds of 000s per year on consultants, yet will close what could be a popular attraction on potentially the busiest day. Why not close on Mondays? The weekends are when there are likely to be more visitors here.

Last week, we were told there are 5 million visitors to Colchester per year, or 14,000 per day, with a value of £311m per year (£850,000 per day). How does that ring true alongside closing down museums on their busiest days? I hope the council will publish the figures which show how much will be saved by doing this.
This does seem utterly ridiculous, especially with the Castle re-opening soon. In more switched-on towns, these attractions would be actively marketed. In Colchester, we have a council which seems unable to comprehend how much there is here for visitors to see. I have a regular visitor here who is still able to find new and interesting places to see, even after several visits. We have a council with 7 levels of management, which still spends hundreds of 000s per year on consultants, yet will close what could be a popular attraction on potentially the busiest day. Why not close on Mondays? The weekends are when there are likely to be more visitors here. Last week, we were told there are 5 million visitors to Colchester per year, or 14,000 per day, with a value of £311m per year (£850,000 per day). How does that ring true alongside closing down museums on their busiest days? I hope the council will publish the figures which show how much will be saved by doing this. romantic
  • Score: 0

2:23pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Reginald47 says...

romantic wrote:
This does seem utterly ridiculous, especially with the Castle re-opening soon. In more switched-on towns, these attractions would be actively marketed. In Colchester, we have a council which seems unable to comprehend how much there is here for visitors to see. I have a regular visitor here who is still able to find new and interesting places to see, even after several visits. We have a council with 7 levels of management, which still spends hundreds of 000s per year on consultants, yet will close what could be a popular attraction on potentially the busiest day. Why not close on Mondays? The weekends are when there are likely to be more visitors here. Last week, we were told there are 5 million visitors to Colchester per year, or 14,000 per day, with a value of £311m per year (£850,000 per day). How does that ring true alongside closing down museums on their busiest days? I hope the council will publish the figures which show how much will be saved by doing this.
Please do tell. Seven levels of management? What are they? And how many people attend Hollytrees on a Monday and how many on a Sunday. Bet the council knows so prove you do too or your comments are meaningless.!
[quote][p][bold]romantic[/bold] wrote: This does seem utterly ridiculous, especially with the Castle re-opening soon. In more switched-on towns, these attractions would be actively marketed. In Colchester, we have a council which seems unable to comprehend how much there is here for visitors to see. I have a regular visitor here who is still able to find new and interesting places to see, even after several visits. We have a council with 7 levels of management, which still spends hundreds of 000s per year on consultants, yet will close what could be a popular attraction on potentially the busiest day. Why not close on Mondays? The weekends are when there are likely to be more visitors here. Last week, we were told there are 5 million visitors to Colchester per year, or 14,000 per day, with a value of £311m per year (£850,000 per day). How does that ring true alongside closing down museums on their busiest days? I hope the council will publish the figures which show how much will be saved by doing this.[/p][/quote]Please do tell. Seven levels of management? What are they? And how many people attend Hollytrees on a Monday and how many on a Sunday. Bet the council knows so prove you do too or your comments are meaningless.! Reginald47
  • Score: -1

4:24pm Mon 24 Feb 14

romantic says...

Reginald47 wrote:
romantic wrote:
This does seem utterly ridiculous, especially with the Castle re-opening soon. In more switched-on towns, these attractions would be actively marketed. In Colchester, we have a council which seems unable to comprehend how much there is here for visitors to see. I have a regular visitor here who is still able to find new and interesting places to see, even after several visits. We have a council with 7 levels of management, which still spends hundreds of 000s per year on consultants, yet will close what could be a popular attraction on potentially the busiest day. Why not close on Mondays? The weekends are when there are likely to be more visitors here. Last week, we were told there are 5 million visitors to Colchester per year, or 14,000 per day, with a value of £311m per year (£850,000 per day). How does that ring true alongside closing down museums on their busiest days? I hope the council will publish the figures which show how much will be saved by doing this.
Please do tell. Seven levels of management? What are they? And how many people attend Hollytrees on a Monday and how many on a Sunday. Bet the council knows so prove you do too or your comments are meaningless.!
Level 1: Chief Exec. Level 2: Exec Director/Chief of operations/Strategic Director. Level 3: 6 heads of service. Each of those 6 controls teams of about 140 people and have 3 or 4 people next level down (Level 4). That next level have 2 or 3 below them (Level 5). And they are then split into teams of 4 or 5 people, each with a manager (Level 6). So you've got me there, it's only 6 levels. The 7th level is the person who you will probably meet or speak to if you deal with the council.

Visitor figures for museums in 2012/2013 show Castle 67,000, down 5% (the figures are from Ipswich & Colchester Museum Service Joint Committee, and are for period before the castle shut). Hollytrees 26,372, up 1%. Natural History Museum 21,190 (up 10%). There isn't a breakdown for which days they come in. From what I know of other museums, it is normal that they get more people visiting at the weekend than during the week. If the council (or you) can prove me wrong, then fair enough.

I would like to see the basis on which the council works out how much it will save by this day closure. Clearly, nobody comes to Colchester solely for the purpose of going to Hollytrees, and as it is free entry, it is not directly bringing any money in, apart from a few souvenir sales. Maintenance will be the same, most costs will be the same, the saving will be a couple of peoples’ wages for that one day per week. Perhaps £8 to 10,000 per year, absolute max.

You could close the place down completely, and would probably have the same number of people coming to town. It is hard to quantify how much a specific place brings to the town, but they combine together as a “tourist package”. If a visitor comes and feels they have more to see in another visit to the town, they will come back. If they feel they have “done Colchester”, maybe they won’t. I’m sure the museum service has exactly this problem when they come to working out budgets time, because of course, every section of the council wants money as well. Their argument will be “Museums bring people to the town”, but the raw figures actually show only about 2% of the “5 million” visitors each year actually visit a museum. A more realistic “tourist” figure is about 280,000 (number of people who stay overnight), and then it is 1 in 3 visiting a museum, which I would say is more realistic. But hey, what do I know, I only live here!

My point is that it seems hard to connect the triumphant announcement last week that we have more visitors than Stratford upon Avon, apparently bringing in approaching £1m per day, with the news that we are so cash-strapped that we cannot afford to keep a museum open on Sunday. Does that not seem strange to you? The council will not reveal how much they spend on consultants each year, but I can assure you that it runs well into 6 figures. Quite often, those people are the very people who have been laid off, and are actually paid more than when they worked for the council.

As I am not a council employee, I do not have access to every bit of data. All the figures above are on the web. I know and talk to lots of people, including people in the council, and indeed some of the councillors, so I have some “inside information” about what goes on, but the attitude of many there seems to be basically “council knows best, the general public don’t need to know any more, because they’re just whinging idiots”. A classic example being Firstsite’s visitor numbers, about which I am sure books will be written one day. But that’s another issue….
[quote][p][bold]Reginald47[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]romantic[/bold] wrote: This does seem utterly ridiculous, especially with the Castle re-opening soon. In more switched-on towns, these attractions would be actively marketed. In Colchester, we have a council which seems unable to comprehend how much there is here for visitors to see. I have a regular visitor here who is still able to find new and interesting places to see, even after several visits. We have a council with 7 levels of management, which still spends hundreds of 000s per year on consultants, yet will close what could be a popular attraction on potentially the busiest day. Why not close on Mondays? The weekends are when there are likely to be more visitors here. Last week, we were told there are 5 million visitors to Colchester per year, or 14,000 per day, with a value of £311m per year (£850,000 per day). How does that ring true alongside closing down museums on their busiest days? I hope the council will publish the figures which show how much will be saved by doing this.[/p][/quote]Please do tell. Seven levels of management? What are they? And how many people attend Hollytrees on a Monday and how many on a Sunday. Bet the council knows so prove you do too or your comments are meaningless.![/p][/quote]Level 1: Chief Exec. Level 2: Exec Director/Chief of operations/Strategic Director. Level 3: 6 heads of service. Each of those 6 controls teams of about 140 people and have 3 or 4 people next level down (Level 4). That next level have 2 or 3 below them (Level 5). And they are then split into teams of 4 or 5 people, each with a manager (Level 6). So you've got me there, it's only 6 levels. The 7th level is the person who you will probably meet or speak to if you deal with the council. Visitor figures for museums in 2012/2013 show Castle 67,000, down 5% (the figures are from Ipswich & Colchester Museum Service Joint Committee, and are for period before the castle shut). Hollytrees 26,372, up 1%. Natural History Museum 21,190 (up 10%). There isn't a breakdown for which days they come in. From what I know of other museums, it is normal that they get more people visiting at the weekend than during the week. If the council (or you) can prove me wrong, then fair enough. I would like to see the basis on which the council works out how much it will save by this day closure. Clearly, nobody comes to Colchester solely for the purpose of going to Hollytrees, and as it is free entry, it is not directly bringing any money in, apart from a few souvenir sales. Maintenance will be the same, most costs will be the same, the saving will be a couple of peoples’ wages for that one day per week. Perhaps £8 to 10,000 per year, absolute max. You could close the place down completely, and would probably have the same number of people coming to town. It is hard to quantify how much a specific place brings to the town, but they combine together as a “tourist package”. If a visitor comes and feels they have more to see in another visit to the town, they will come back. If they feel they have “done Colchester”, maybe they won’t. I’m sure the museum service has exactly this problem when they come to working out budgets time, because of course, every section of the council wants money as well. Their argument will be “Museums bring people to the town”, but the raw figures actually show only about 2% of the “5 million” visitors each year actually visit a museum. A more realistic “tourist” figure is about 280,000 (number of people who stay overnight), and then it is 1 in 3 visiting a museum, which I would say is more realistic. But hey, what do I know, I only live here! My point is that it seems hard to connect the triumphant announcement last week that we have more visitors than Stratford upon Avon, apparently bringing in approaching £1m per day, with the news that we are so cash-strapped that we cannot afford to keep a museum open on Sunday. Does that not seem strange to you? The council will not reveal how much they spend on consultants each year, but I can assure you that it runs well into 6 figures. Quite often, those people are the very people who have been laid off, and are actually paid more than when they worked for the council. As I am not a council employee, I do not have access to every bit of data. All the figures above are on the web. I know and talk to lots of people, including people in the council, and indeed some of the councillors, so I have some “inside information” about what goes on, but the attitude of many there seems to be basically “council knows best, the general public don’t need to know any more, because they’re just whinging idiots”. A classic example being Firstsite’s visitor numbers, about which I am sure books will be written one day. But that’s another issue…. romantic
  • Score: 3

1:13pm Thu 27 Feb 14

catflap1 says...

well said romantic
well said romantic catflap1
  • Score: 1

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