Derby

Job cuts at Peak District National Park Authority

The Peak District National Park Authority is to cease operating its learning centre at Losehill Hall to help meet government funding cuts.

The equivalent of 22 full-time jobs will be lost at the site after grants were reduced by 29% over four years.

One of 19 full-time ranger posts will also be cut, as will three in-house design and photography positions.

Chief executive Jim Dixon said he was committed to safeguarding the national park and its communities.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed the organisation's grants are being cut from £8.2m in 2010-11 to £6.5m by 2014-15.

In response, the authority has launched an action plan to save more than £446,000 in 2011-12 while "protecting essential services".

Mr Dixon said: "All sections of the public sector are facing cuts to address the budget deficit and we have to play our part.

Volunteer payments

"A big aspect of this involves increasing our partnership work, sharing activities, pooling resources with other organisations and widening the work of our volunteers.

"We also want to develop a stronger commercial approach to our frontline services, increasing our income from leisure, information and recreation."

The authority said it was entering negotiations with the Youth Hostel Association over the Losehill Hall centre, where a small team will continue to provide some education services.

The job cuts at the site will be made through "redeployment, redundancy or early retirement".

Mr Dixon also said the authority was in the process of leasing the Eastern Moors estate to a National Trust/RSPB partnership and was seeking partners for the Roaches Estate in Staffordshire.

As well as the closure of the body's in-house design and photography service, payments to volunteer rangers will also be brought in line with payments to other volunteers.

In addition, management and corporate support costs will be reduced, mainly by cutting the hours of five other posts.

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