Council approves multi-million pound Bewerley Park upgrade
Nov 29, 2023
Bewerley Park near Pateley Bridge

Senior councillors have given the go-ahead for a major investment in its outdoor learning centres at Bewerley Park and East Barnby.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive yesterday approved spending £4.2m on an 84-bed accommodation block at Bewerley Park, near Pateley Bridge, and improvements to the accommodation block and dining room at East Barnby, near Whitby.

Bewerley Park was built in the 1940s and has been used by North Yorkshire schoolchildren for decades. Its activities, which include canoeing, rock climbing and orienteering, enable young people to learn life skills and have fun.

The council’s outdoor learning service charges between £145 and £170 per night to attend Bewerley Park but it has struggled to record a profit since 2015.

This year it hiked the charge by up to £30 a night due to inflationary pressures.

The council’s Conservative executive member for finance, Gareth Dadd, said the service was “on its knees” but the investment has rescued the two sites “from the jaws of death”.

He added: 

“We were ready to send bulldozers in. Let’s make no bones about it.

“Officers and staff have responded and come up with what is a sustainable business model. Credit to them all in developing that.”

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Further works at Bewerley Park could take place at a later date with a decision expected by 2028. Cllr Dadd said any future expansion will be dependent on the success of the new accommodation block.

The council will still need to obtain planning permission for the work but it says the centres will remain open during construction.

Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, the council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, added: 

“This is an exciting project. For decades both centres have proven very popular, being visited by generations of families. Thousands of children and young people visit the centres each year and leave with positive, happy memories.

“It’s vital that our centres continue to deliver wonderful experiences in a more modern environment.”

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