We have mixed feelings about the announcement from the Peak District National Park Authority that Losehill Hall, the world-famous national park learning centre, is to be sold to the Youth Hostels Association (YHA).
The society favoured the bid from the Field Studies Council, and when the park opted for the YHA’s tender, had hoped that members wold agree to lease the building rather than sell it. However, the park’s Services Committee agreed on 21 January to sell the hall to YHA. Read more here
Says our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook: ‘Losehill Hall is an incredibly special place and means a lot to the thousands of people who have passed through its welcoming doors. The Peak Park was immensely fortunate to own a centre with such an outstanding reputation. Now, because of the cuts, it has felt it must part with this tremendous asset.
However, we are encouraged that the agreement includes a clause, which we hope is legally binding, to ensure that the building is used as a youth hostel and education and activity centre for a minimum of 20 years. We hope this will secure its track record for excellent environmental education. We are pleased also that the park authority’s learning and discovery team will continue to be based at Losehill Hall.
When addressing the park authority meeting last December, the YHA’s chief executive, Caroline White, pledged that, in partnership with the authority, the YHA would create a “first-class hostel and world-class education centre” and that it would “continue to expand and develop professional training”. It is essential that these things happen. And we are pleased that the YHA has said that groups such as the Open Spaces Society will still be welcome to use Losehill Hall for conferences and campaign training.
‘We shall keep a close watch on what happens at Losehill Hall, to ensure that it continues to offer the range and standard of opportunities that it has provided for the last 40 years,’ Kate declares.
‘However, we are very sad that so many staff have lost their jobs in this process. The staff at Losehill Hall have always given a warm welcome and made my stays there ones to remember. We wish them all the very best for the future.’