Hope for positive future for ‘beautiful community asset’

Goblin Combe Environment Centre, in Cleeve. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Goblin Combe Environment Centre, in Cleeve. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

‘Optimism’ is growing over the future of a ‘beautiful community asset’ which is up for sale, but uncertainty still surrounds the listed building.

Cleeve's Goblin Combe Environment Centre is owned by North Somerset Council, but the authority wants to flog the building after deeming it surplus to requirements.

The grade-II listed building, in Plunder Street, was bought by the council more than a decade ago with a view to safeguarding the designated Asset of Community Value.

But it has been vacant for months and concerns have been raised over its future.

The council insists it hopes to sell the building for 'community uses', but if none are found at a 'reasonable price' it will explore other options to cash in.

Newly-elected Wrington councillor Steve Hogg, whose ward include's Cleeve, is 'optimistic' a solution which benefits the village can be found.

Villagers and councillors met at Holy Trinity Church in late-June to discuss options for the environment centre, and Independent councillor Hogg's hopes of it remaining in the hands of the community were buoyed by the meeting.

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He said: "I am excited about the potential for the building, and optimistic a plan could emerge to ensure it remains with the community into the future.

"I've lived in Wrington for 26 years, both my children have attended activities at the centre, and my wife who is an early years professional had some great experiences there over the years."

The building, which was once a school, had recently been used for nature education and introduced people with Goblin Combe - one of North Somerset's finest beauty spots.

Cllr Hogg believes 'creative thinking, critical analysis and hard work' will be required to find a long-term solution which benefits villagers.

He added: "It's going to require a sound business plan which also takes into account the realities of its repair and maintenance, and I guess this may narrow the options a little.

"My wish is that whatever its ultimate purpose, it remains a beautiful community asset for the enjoyment and future use of the local community, and can act in some way as the perfect gateway to Goblin Combe.

"I will continue to support the residents of Cleeve in finding a way forward."