Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Youth Hostel Saved by Acquisition Deal; Pounds 650,000 Deal Secures Future of Flagship

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Youth Hostel Saved by Acquisition Deal; Pounds 650,000 Deal Secures Future of Flagship

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

THE FUTURE of a Northumberland youth hostel which was given a Royal opening last year has been safeguarded after council bosses agreed to buy it in a pounds 650,000 property deal.

Hundreds of people turned out last summer to watch the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh officially open the flagship hostel in Alnwick, which was developed to cater for large groups of young visitors to the north of the county.

However, its future was thrown into doubt when owner, the Alnwick Community Development Trust, went into administration last September because of financial problems.

Now the threat of closure has been removed after the county council's executive agreed to buy the hostel - together with three rented flats in Alnwick which were also owned by the trust - for pounds 650,000.

The four properties will be purchased from the administrators, Tyneside-based Tate Walker, who are disposing of the trust's assets to satisfy creditors.

The council plans to invite tender bids from organisations interested in paying rent to operate the youth hostel, which is regarded as a venture likely to make a decent profit.

County Hall bosses decided to make the purchase in order to safeguard a valuable tourism asset for Northumberland - and also avoid the clawback of about pounds 160,000 worth of external grant funding for the project. That would have to be handed back if the hostel closed and stopped trading.

Since the trust went into administration, the Green Batt hostel has been managed by an independent board of three directors under licence from Tate Walker. Yesterday directors' chairman Ed Ford said: "This decision by the county council is an excellent outcome and I don't think we could have hoped for anything better. "We were absolutely distraught when the development trust went into administration and feared the possible loss of the youth hostel. …

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