Calls for Glasbury House closure to be deferred

Outdoor education centre Glasbury House, which has been earmarked for closure by Redbridge Council.

Outdoor education centre Glasbury House, which has been earmarked for closure by Redbridge Council. [Picture: Redbridge Council] - Credit: Archant

Plans to close a countryside retreat which has been visited by Redbridge school pupils for more than 50 years have been criticised.

Redbridge Council is proposing to shut Glasbury House, its outdoor activity centre, in a bid to save around £175,000 a year.

But opponents of the plan have said it will rob youngsters of the chance to get out of the borough and see other parts of the countryside.

Redbridge Conservative leader Cllr Paul Canal said he had asked the council to defer the plans, which are due to go before the health, leisure and older people service committee on Monday (November 3).

Cllr Canal said: “What we need to do is ensure we afford our children the opportunity to be inspired.

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“If there’s a way of making this work, we should do it – not throw away 50 years of history without a second thought.”

The closure of the site, near Hay-on-Wye, would make eight permanent employees redundant.

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Cllr Wes Streeting, deputy leader and cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said the recommendation for closure had been made “with a heavy heart”.

“Despite our best efforts, and the efforts of the previous coalition administration, the council can’t turn Glasbury into a financially sustainable operation,” he said.

The council is aiming to cut £70million from its budget over the next three years, with the site estimated to sell for £1million.

If closed, the centre – which also provides expedition opportunities for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – would honour bookings up until the end of July 2015.

Cllr Streeting said the council hoped to reinvest savings in improving facilities within the borough.

“This will mean residents have the high-quality opportunities on their doorsteps and ensure council funding is used more sustainably in future years,” he said.

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