Northern Ireland

Education Authority postpones closure of County Down outdoor education centre

Delamont Country Park Image copyright Google
Image caption Delamont Outdoor Education Centre currently offers courses for both young people and adults in the Belfast Education and Library Board area

The proposed closure of Delamont Outdoor Education Centre in County Down has been postponed.

An Education Authority (EA) review of the centre, published last year, recommended it close on 31 March 2017.

However, the EA have now said that it will not close until responses to a consultation on the proposals are fully considered.

In November 2016, the EA announced plans to close half of its eight large outdoor residential activity centres.

It was hoped the move could save around £1.5m.

As part of the EA review, three other centres were also earmarked for closure in August 2017.

They are Bushmills Outdoor Education Centre in County Antrim, Ardnabannon Outdoor Education Centre in County Down and Killowen Outdoor Education Centre, also in County Down.

Local opposition

However, the plans met with some local opposition and 1,850 responses to the consultation on them have been received.

In a statement, the EA said that it was considering those responses.

"The review recommendations will not be implemented until this process is complete," it said.

Delamont Outdoor Education Centre opened in 1987 and is situated within the 300-acre Delamont Country Park.

It has the capacity to accommodate up to 30 students, as well as accompanying staff on both weekdays and weekends.

However, it is only two miles away from Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre, which is also operated by the EA.

The EA review recommended that the Killyleagh centre remain open.

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