A CAMPSITE used by around 5.000 young people a year including scouts, school groups and Duke of Edinburgh candidates, has been saved.
Next to the former St Cuthman’s School at Stedham, now home to the new Durand weekly boarding school, it was owned by West Sussex County Council who closed it almost two years ago as part of its financial cuts.
We are very excited we have been able to play a part in saving this well-used and much-loved campsite
With a price tag of around £300,000, it has been sold under the ‘community right to buy’ scheme to the Midhurst Youth Trust.
The trust plans to give it a major facelift and reopen it for the use of young people across the area.
Negotiations have been going on for more than a year, before the county council announced, this week, the sale has been agreed.
Speaking on behalf of The Midhurst Youth Trust Colin Hughes said: “Bookings are being taken for this year but the intention is to market the new look camp site for next spring. It will be a challenging and exciting time for us all.”
He said the trust planned to upgrade the facilities, thanks to the ‘very generous’ support of two local charitable trusts.
“We also have additional funds available,” said Mr Hughes, “and it is our intention to reinstate the campsite to its former glory, but we will be seeking financial help to realise all our dreams.”
“We are very excited we have been able to play a part in saving this well-used and much-loved campsite.”
The trust intends to expand the camping activities by providing day exploration and discovery days for schools and youth organisations in conjunction with other organisations such as the National Trust and the South Downs National Park.
There are also plans to create a dedicated rural studies and rural craft area combined with camping.
It is envisaged the youth trust will run the campsite from its Lamberts Lane base.
“The Midhurst Youth Trust has local school and youth organisation connections as well as the expertise to make this a viable task,” said Mr Hughes.
He said it was considered a great loss when West Sussex County Council was forced to close the site due to lack of funds.
“The trust is hoping to continue to offer what the county council made possible in the first place.”
West Sussex County Council cabinet member for finance, Michael Brown, said: “We decided the site should be sold.
“But we wanted to sell to a group who would continue to use the site for community benefit. I’m really pleased we’ve managed to secure this sale.”