Special meeting into Holt Hall closure to be held in January

Holt Hall Environmental & Outdoor Learning Centre. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Holt Hall. - Credit: Archant

There are hopes Holt Hall could yet be saved after a date was set for a meeting which will give all councillors a chance to voice their views.

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors want to use a special meeting of Norfolk County Council on Monday, January 11 at 10am to put pressure on the Conservative-controlled council to think again on its decision to move towards selling the 75-acre site and stop providing outdoor learning at the site.

The initial decision was taken during a council cabinet meeting on Monday, December 7.

But opposition councillors say they should be given the chance to have their say.

Steve Morphew, leader of the labour group, said: "Holt Hall shouldn’t be lost without all councillors having the chance for a say.

"A full council meeting gives them all a vote and the chance to be lobbied and accountable to those they represent. The decision remains with the cabinet that has shown itself unwilling to listen to Norfolk but it gives the chance for a rethink.

"It provides other councillors with the chance to confront cabinet with facts and arguments they have so far chosen not to hear. My message to Norfolk is let your councillors hear your views and help us save Holt Hall for Norfolk and future generations of young people."

During the cabinet meeting on December 7, the council said it wanted to become an enabler, rather than a provider of outdoor learning.

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It said the hall was running at a deficit, would cost £600,000 to maintain over the next decade and only 6.8pc of residential outdoor learning visits last year were run at Holt Hall.

But almost 6,000 people have signed a petition opposing closure, while the Friends of Holt Hall group is drawing up a plan in the hope of getting it classed as an asset of community value.

This newspaper had urged the council to pause a decision - particularly given how other providers of outdoor learning are facing an uncertain future due to the coronavirus pandemic and the figures used to justify closing the hall preceded the pandemic.

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