Heritage Centre feels the squeeze

RYE Heritage has announced it will cut its opening hours in the winter as it continues to struggle against the recession.

Manager Peter Cosstick described 2012 - 2013 as a “challenging year” and said visitor numbers to Rye were significantly down in the past 12 months. Income is expected to fall by 8.5 percent.

Mr Cosstick blames the situation on poor weather, The Olympics, the recession and increasing fuel costs.

But it is not all bad news - the walk-in accommodation booking service has added an estimated £17,000 to local accommodation providers over the past 11 months.

And Guided Ghost Tours, run by the Heritage Centre, have continued to be highly popular and have attracted visitors to the town during the winter months.

Mr Cosstick said: “To enable cost savings during the winter months, the Centre only opened at weekends during January. After careful consideration, and to enable future profitability, the Centre will reduce opening times and days during November 2013 - January 2014.”

He added: “Despite all of these factors, Rye Heritage Centre will still deliver a modest operating profit and continue to be a major visitor attraction and source of information.”

Mr Cosstick urged local people to help promote the Heritage Centre and said: “We ran a meet and greet for coaches last year but still so many people visit Rye and are unaware of our existence.

“We would urge local people to promote the Heritage Centre wherever possible.”