Council reveals plans to sell environment centre
PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 November 2018
An old school building which is used for nature education and connects people with one of the area’s finest beauty spots will be flogged by the local authority.
North Somerset Council will sell Cleeve’s Goblin Combe Environment Centre after it was deemed ‘surplus to requirements’.
The environment centre was bought by the council more than a decade ago to safeguard the site’s future, and it has been used for a variety of nature activities for children, vulnerable adults and people battling addiction.
But the building, which is registered as an asset of community value, has been vacant for several months, prompting the authority to earmark it for sale.
It is unknown what the council will be selling the environment centre building for, and its decision to sell up adds to the uncertain future of Goblin Combe’s facilities.
Charity Groundwork ran classes and camps at the nearby Goblin Combe lodge building and surrounding woodland, but amid financial fears it imposed a moratorium on all activities at the end of the summer to conduct a review of cash flows and it is yet to confirm its plans.
Independent education specialist Alice Tucker took on a short-term lease of the lodge in October until January, and she believes Goblin Combe is a ‘jewel in Cleeve’s crown’.
She said: “It would be a desperate shame if this was lost. If it shut and nothing happened, it would be a crying shame.
“Where would children go with their mums and dads, where would the people in drug and alcohol rehab go to have an experience which challenges them in a safe environment?
“Without this, people will be left high and dry and a bit lonely.”
A council spokesman told the Mercury it has tried to keep the environment centre in the hands of the community, but a viable solution is yet to be found.
They added: “The property has been designated as an asset of community value but so far there hasn’t been any interest in it for community purposes since its designation so we have declared it surplus to our requirements.
“At the moment we’re getting ready to take the property to the market but we don’t have a date yet for when the marketing campaign will start.
“If interest comes forward during the marketing process for appropriate community uses then it will certainly be considered.”