The chairman of a scrutiny committee is “stunned” that no accurate visitor figures have been compiled since Saltaire gained its World Heritage Status in 2001.

While other towns with the same status have enjoyed up to 64 per cent increases in visitors, a report shows that Saltaire has only managed an estimated 0-3 per cent rise in tourism since 2001.

The downbeat report to Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee blames the dismal performance on misplaced optimism at the outset, followed by a lack of unified promotion of Saltaire’s many attributes.

“The 2000 Management Plan anticipated that World Heritage Status would automatically lead to an increase in visitors,” says the report to be considered at a meeting tomorrow.

The document reveals there are no reliable visitor statistics for Saltaire village, so the impact of World Heritage Status is “unknown”. The significance of this is explained later in the report when it compares Saltaire with the successes of two other World Heritage sites, mining village Blaenavon in Wales and Bamberg in Germany – which has had a tourism dividend of 64 per cent during a similar timespan.

The report’s suggestion is that 11 years on, it would be a good idea to have a steering group overseeing management and promotion of Saltaire instead of three disjointed bodies as at present.

Scrutiny committee chairman Councillor Andrew Mallinson said he was shocked at the report.

“I am stunned by this,” he said. “It’s madness. How can it be there are no facts or figures for tourism in Saltaire?

“I am staggered. One of the first things that should have been done was to monitor visitor numbers.

“Other places have done it, so it can’t have been impossible to see if there have been significant boosts for tourism and the local economy.

“The fact there are no figures shows there has been complacency in that people thought ‘give it a title and everyone will come’.”

Coun Mallinson (Con, Craven) said a plan to rescue Saltaire’s fortunes by setting up a new steering group was too late in the day Scrutiny committee member Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw (Lab, Windhill and Wrose) said as a former member of the Saltaire Village Society he was disappointed by the report. “It’s odd and disappointing that there’s not been a concerted effort to calculate any tourism benefits,” he said.

Shipley Councillor Kevin Warnes said he broadly welcomed the report – as a tool to move things forward.

“I hope it will galvanise all concerned to support the further development of Saltaire as a heritage community,” said Coun Warnes (Green).