Hornsea centre to go on sale

An outdoor centre that has benefited thousands of local schoolchildren is to be sold by Wakefield Council.

Judith Badger, the council’s director of finance, announced last week that the Hornsea Outdoor Residential Centre will be offered on the open market this month or next.

It will be sold for any purpose, despite attempts by several groups to keep the building open as an educational resource.

The centre opened in 1937 and has been a popular destination for school residential trips since. For many children from the Express area, their visit to Hornsea was the first time they had seen the seaside.

But Wakefield Council announced last year that it could not afford to keep the centre open due to the loss of a Wakefield Schools Forum grant and modernisation costs of £1.5m.

It invited voluntary and community groups to step forward and run the centre. Three different parties submitted business plans but the council said none of them offered a viable long-term solution. It was closed in October 2011.

Stuart Boothman, secretary of Hornsea Support Group, said his group’s bid was rejected on the grounds that they could not afford to take on the centre’s current staff.

He said: “I am disappointed that the council seems to have moved away from keeping this property as an education centre. They are now just looking for any use that will allow them to sell it.”

Ms Badger said: “Because no viable proposals were received the Hornsea Outdoor Centre will be offered on the open market in February or March this year. All interested parties will be able to submit bids for the property, which is suitable for a wide range of uses subject to planning.”