Decision day for Holt Hall's future

Holt Hall environmental and outdoor learning centre has been much-loved by families for generations

Holt Hall environmental and outdoor learning centre has been much-loved by families for generations - Credit: Archant

The fate of outdoor learning centre Holt Hall will be decided today.

Norfolk County Council's cabinet meeting will make a decision about the 75-acre site, and if it is to follow a recommendation to close the outdoor learning centre and sell it.

Holt Hall is the second largest provider of both outdoor learning residential stays and outdoor learning day visits in the county for 70 years.

In October, the council announced it was no longer able to afford the facility, with a petition to save the service receiving more than 5,000 signatures.

Those pushing for Holt Hall to be saved say the decision to close it is short-sighted and will leave children as the greatest losers.

In a report to the cabinet, the county council has outlined three options for the hall's future

Option 1 is that the council continue operating Holt Hall as an outdoor education centre. Although this has the advantage of offering “continuity” for schools, the council does not consider it viable because the deficit the centre runs.

The second explores a partnership approach and allows a third party to take over running the centre and continuing outdoor learning activities there. But the council said this was “high risk with limited benefit” and they would probably have to continue subsiding the site. 

Option 3 is to simply close Holt Hall and sell the site.

The report outlines option three as the recommended option due to eliminating the council's financial risk.

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The council's scrutiny committee has the ability to call in the decision, if it wants to look at it in detail and make recommendations back to cabinet or ask cabinet to reconsider.

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