Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is calling for $1.7 million of NSW Government funding to upgrade the Saumarez Homestead. Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray, left, Adam Marshall, Saumarez Homestead Manager Les Davis, John Atchison Chair of the Saumarez Homestead Advisory Committee, Armidale Regional Council Group Leader Organisational Services Lindsay Woodlands and planning consultant Will Winter.
Monday, 26 March 2018
MP calling on State Government to provide support
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today called in the NSW Government to fund a large upgrade of the region’s iconic Saumarez Homestead heritage property, to increase the numbers of tourists visiting the Armidale region.
Mr Marshall was at the unique National Heritage Trust homestead today with property manager Les Davis to discuss the exciting plans to open up the iconic building to a wider audience.
He said the government should provide around $1.7 million for the project, with Armidale Regional Council already committing $730,000.
The project involves repurposing and restoring the homestead’s heritage listed farm to include guest accommodation onsite.
“It is hoped these improvements will attract and additional 16,000 overnight visitors to Armidale – a six per cent increase – and triple the number of visitors annually to Saumarez to 33,000 people,” Mr Marshall said.
“This project has the potential to turn this unique National Trust property into a state and nationally-significant tourist attraction.
“The unique ability to stay onsite, just a stones’ throw from this beautiful homestead and with easy access to the Armidale Regional Airport will help attract significant functions like weddings and conferences.
“Proposed upgrades to the current restaurant, internal roads and visitor information areas will also ensure that daytime visitors will have the best experience possible at Saumarez.”
There is a funding application currently being assessed by the NSW Government under the Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund and Mr Marshall said it must be afforded high priority.
“The Saumarez Homestead is synonymous with Armidale and this project will offer something truly unique to regional visitors,” Mr Marshall said.
“Upgrading the Saumarez Homestead is a brilliant recognition of its important role in the development of Armidale, and will preserve and promote it for generations to come.”
Saumarez Homestead manager Les Davis said he had tour companies from Sydney “at the ready” to ferry hundreds of visitors to Armidale, should the upgrade go ahead.
“Last year we got just over 10,000 visitors, all of whom were just day visitors,” Mr Davies said.
“The hope is to have people spend two to three nights, to experience the place more fully and to go from $15-20 per visitor to up to $100 spend per visitor.”
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said today’s announcement of support was very welcome news for council, which has committed $730,000 to the proposed project.
“Saumarez Homestead is an invaluable asset for our region, both as a tourism drawcard which attracted more than 10,000 visitors last year and a living piece of history central to the creation of Armidale,” Cr Murray said.
“Its lure as a tourism and functions destination will be substantially enhanced by the upgrade, with the potential to triple the number of visitors and create 16 new jobs.
“The flow-on effect, by bringing people to the area and encouraging them to stay longer, is estimated to bring a $6.5 million boost to the local economy, through increase patronage of Armidale’s hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions.”