Dell Farm saved from the axe after ‘overwhelming’ interest from groups

Dell Farm, Whipsnade

Dell Farm, Whipsnade

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Dell Farm has been handed a temporary stay of execution after Active Luton received what it has called an ‘overwhelming’ response to a call for help.

Last month the Luton News exclusively revealed that the future of the facility in Whipsnade looked bleak, after Active Luton was told by council run London Luton Airport Ltd that its donations would be cut by £500,000 over the next two years.

However Luton Borough Council has now agreed to keep Dell Farm open until at least next summer, after a consultation on the centre’s future saw ‘various groups’ come forward with expressions of interest in keeping the facility open.

As as result LBC has ended the consultation with immediate effect and Active Luton has agreed to take responsibilty for maintenance, which the council cannot finance.

Active Luton now has a year to put together a ‘credible and viable’ business plan to ensure the long term future of the farm.

The trust’s chief executive, Helen Barnett, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response.

“I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to respond and for the council for extending the lease so we can continue to operate this much-loved community and educational facility.

“We are confident that we can reach the position where the long term viability of the centre is assured.

“We’d also be keen to hear from businesses who would be interested in using the centre.”

Cllr Rachel Hopkins added: ““This is fantastic news as the last thing we wanted to do was close a valuable community facility without exploring all viable options.

“I would like to thank the groups which have come forward and the commitment of Active Luton to keeping the centre open.”

Cllr Hopkins added: “Clearly a sustainable long-term solution for this facility relies on it being used so I encourage schools and community groups to continue to make bookings.”