Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 10:37 UK

College takes on activity centre

View from the Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre
Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre overlooks Christchurch Harbour

An outdoor activities centre in Dorset which was set to close has been saved and will be run by a Hampshire college.

Bournemouth Borough Council had decided to shut Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre in Southbourne because of "high running costs and the economic climate".

Brockenhurst College took over the centre on Tuesday after agreeing to spend £100,000 on maintenance and repairs in return for a 25-year lease.

Students will be able to enjoy a range of watersport activities.

'Vibrant centre'

The facilities will be made available to the public from Easter next year.

Activities on offer include sailing, kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing and the college will expand these to offer other outdoor activities such as field studies, rock climbing and safety and rescue training.

Councillor John Beesley, Bournemouth Borough Council deputy leader, said: "Brockenhurst College was selected because they have an excellent range of activities to offer to students and the public, a realistic level of investment and they have produced a plan for the centre which is likely to be sustainable in the long term."

Di Roberts, principal of Brockenhurst College, said: "This vibrant centre will support the development and education of young people and play a role in family and business life in the locality whilst protecting the unique environment of Hengistbury Head.

"We will work very closely with relevant groups in the locality and with Bournemouth Borough Council to respond to local needs."

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