A COUNCILLOR has responded to claims that a railway museum failed to work with local businesses to help them cash in on a major event.

Complaints were raised that Locomotion: The National Railway Museum in Shildon did not do enough to direct visitors at the nine day Mallard anniversary event towards the town's businesses.

An estimated 120,000 people flocked to Shildon during the successful Great Goodbye.

Loading article content

The claim was denied by museum bosses who feel they did help the high street.

Now Shildon town councillor Stuart Bird, who is also a volunteer at Locomotion, said he offered to help foster links between the museum and traders six years ago.

“In August 2008 we desperately wanted to improve relations between Locomotion and traders as people felt they were not benefiting from Locomotion.

“I sent out 140 letters to Shildon businesses asking them to a meeting to try to improve the situation, only five turned up.

“They decided to re-establish Shildon Chamber of Trade and the museum agreed to have a map showing where the businesses are, but none of traders came forward to do anything about it.

“Now the A4s have been and the traders are complaining that they got no support or overspill from the event.”

Chris Bowman, of Console Connections, on Church Street, wants to re-start the chamber of trade.

He said: “I was at the 2008 meeting and a lot was discussed but nothing came of it.

“There have been lots of missed opportunities as there have been mistakes on both sides. What’s done is done and I’d rather look forward to the future to see how we can improve things.”