‘Mixed feelings’ over sale

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COUNTRYSIDE campaign group members have told of their “mixed feelings” about the Peak District National Park’s sale of Losehill Hall study centre.

The Open Spaces Society had voiced concerns about the plans for the Victorian country house, near Castleton, which is being sold to the Youth Hostels Association - and had called for the property to be leased rather than sold.

The national park authority is selling to save £250,000 annual running costs - but at a figure believed to be £550,000 below the market value.

In return, YHA, which is moving its Castleton base into the building, has committed to continuing education for children and young people at the centre for the next 20 years.

Some 40 full and part-time staff, employed by the national park authority at Losehill Hall, will be made redundant.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: “We are encouraged the agreement includes a clause, which we hope is legally binding, to ensure the building is used as a youth hostel and education and activity centre for a minimum of 20 years.

“We are pleased also the park authority’s learning and discovery team will continue to be based at Losehill Hall.

“We shall keep a close watch on what happens at Losehill Hall, to ensure it continues to offer the range and standard of opportunities it has provided for the last 40 years.”

But she added: “We are very sad so many staff have lost their jobs in this process.”