Mepal Outdoor Centre to close for the winter

MEPAL Outdoor Centre will close to the public on November 4 as a series of “improvements works” are carried out by the team brought in to save the beleaguered facility.

Cambridgeshire ACRE and the Mepal Outdoor Centre Charitable Trust say that they are putting plans in place to ensure that the centre will be “revitalised” in time for a reopening in the spring.

An official opening is expected in time for Easter, officials said this week.

John Yates, president of the Mepal Outdoor Centre Charitable Trust, said: “Over the next few months, staff will concentrate on preparing the centre for the next season and give the site and centre buildings some well deserved tender loving care.

“We will also be working to develop the 2013 activity programme and hope to welcome old customers, and new ones, when we re-open.”

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The centre was facing almost certain closure by the middle of this month after East Cambridgeshire District Council refused requests for an �85,000 grant to cover the centre over the winter.

The outdoor centre was spared however, when the trust entered into a working arrangement with Cambridgeshire ACRE earlier this month, which has offered to bring expertise in the management of community-run organisations.

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When news of the centre’s woes first came to light, the district council accused the trust of lacking a detailed business plan or strategy for improvement and income generation.

The council says it provided “significant support” to help set up the centre, including a 99-year lease on a peppercorn rent and more than �700,000 of investment into the facility, in Chatteris Road.

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