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We have responded to the Peak District National Park’s decision to select the Youth Hostels Association as the preferred bidder for Losehill Hall in the Hope Valley in the heart of the national park.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary (who addressed the park authority members at their meeting on Friday 17 December):
‘We are disappointed that the Field Studies Council was not the preferred bidder, as FSC appeared to us to be the best fit for retaining Losehill Hall as an outstanding environmental and national-park learning centre.
‘However, we are pleased that the Peak Park wishes to give serious consideration to a leasehold with the Youth Hostels Association, rather than selling Losehill Hall outright. We strongly support a leasehold. As we told the members at their meeting, a lease enables the National Park Authority to set conditions and retain control of what happens at the hall, keeping that vital link between the environmental centre and the park. So we shall urge the Services Committee, which reconsiders the matter on 21 January, to opt for leasehold.
‘We were encouraged by the assurances given by Caroline White, YHA’s chief executive, in addressing the park authority members last Friday. She said that, in partnership with the NPA, YHA would create a “first-class hostel and world-class education centre”, and that it would “continue to expand and develop professional training”, it would target disadvantaged young people, offer a break for kids of limited means, it would provide a great opportunity for more conference work and campaigns training. The YHA pledged “to retain the traditions and values of Losehill Hall”.
‘So provided the YHA keeps its promises, Losehill Hall could offer the range and standard of opportunities it currently provides,’ says Kate.