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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Energy tourist attraction shuts
Gaia Centre
The centre tried to put the spotlight on renewable energy
A tourist attraction in Cornwall which cost 5m to build has shut just three years after opening.

The Gaia Energy Centre at Delabole, which is on the site of Britain's first commercial windfarm, was supposed to attract 150,000 visitors a year.

However, only a tenth of that number actually toured the centre.

A planning application to turn it into a business centre was turned down earlier this month. Seven people lost their jobs as a result of the closure.

Eco-attractions, they're just not sustainable, there's just not enough interest
Ian McIvor, Neovenator
The centre went into administrative receivership in March last year and was then bought by an investment company Neovenator.

Most of the funding for the centre came from Europe, with 300,000 grants from Objective One and the South West Regional Development Agency.

The centre was branded a waste of money by Neovenator and some investors are now demanding a public inquiry.

Neovenator Chief Executive Ian McIvor said: "We put a lot of work in and and a lot of investment over the last few months to see if the centre could be salvaged as an a exhibition on renewable energy.

"But, sadly, just like many eco-attractions, they're just not sustainable, there's just not enough interest."

"Element of risk"

A spokesman from the South West Regional Development Agency said it was disappointing that the project had not worked.

Jason Clarke said: "There is going to be an element of risk in theses sorts of things.

"But if you look across the board in Cornwall in terms of the huge investment we're seeing, and it is hundreds of millions of pounds, the level of failure is tiny compared to such benefits."

Ian McIvor said discussions had been taking place between Neovenator and the council about the possibility of using the site for research and educational purposes.




SEE ALSO:
Gaia owners fight for centre jobs
04 Sep 04  |  Cornwall
Sun sets on the Gaia solar centre
18 Jul 04  |  Cornwall
Solar centre calls in receiver
28 Mar 03  |  England
Ray of light for solar centre
20 Jan 03  |  England
Solar not so good
14 Oct 02  |  Working Lunch


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