Rotherham Council to decide future of Filey residential and field study centre
The long term future of Habershon House Residential and Field Study Centre in Filey is set to be discussed by Rotherham Council.
The council owned Habershon House is situated on the sea front in North Yorkshire has been visited by thousands of school children over the last 150 years, since it was bequeathed to the borough in Victorian times.
However, having looked at booking trends and surveyed current users and non-users, the data shows that schools have been using it less frequently over the last few years, putting its economic future in doubt.
This, coupled with the increasingly difficult financial climate the Council has to operate in due to the squeeze on its budget – a direct result of Government cuts, has forced a rethink on its long term viability.
In a bid to save Habershon House from potential closure the Council is now recommending a third party is sought to operate it.
Rotherham Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Gordon Watson, said: “Habershon House is clearly steeped in history and many people have fond memories of staying there when they were at school.
“But unfortunately it is not managing to sustain its place as a venue of choice for our local schools. Research we have done shows our schools in Rotherham are choosing to take children elsewhere, other than Habershon House.
“We are confident that not-for-profit providers with specialist skills are interested in taking on Habershon House and securing its use, but if we are not able to make those arrangements in the coming months then unfortunately we will be forced to close it for good.”
He added teachers are still making sure children get a chance to go away with their schools, but are choosing to visit places other than Habershon House as they are being offered a better all-round package for trips away. He said: “We do not have the funds to compete with that. That is why we want to see a third party take the reins at Habershon and make a go of it, so we can still maintain the site for future generations to come.”
The council’s Cabinet is set to discuss the building’s long term future at a meeting on July 11.
If recommendations are agreed, public consultation will begin over the summer before a final decision is made in September.