[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
AMs unite against hostel closure
Protesters handed petitions to assembly members
Protesters handed petitions to assembly members
Four north Wales assembly members have joined ranks to try and help save a youth hostel from closure after meeting protesters in Llangollen.

AMs Mark Isherwood, Janet Ryder, Karen Sinclair and Eleanor Burnham, from all four main parties in Wales, were handed petitions by campaigners which they will pass to the assembly government.

The 120-bed hostel is one of five in Wales scheduled to close by 2008.

The Youth Hostels Association says the centre is not profitable enough.

The association said the hostel only achieves 33% occupancy and needs 500,000 in renovation work.

But campaigners said the hostel is one of the best-equipped in Wales, and provides a valuable service to the area.

Outdoor pursuit company Pro-Active said it invested 50,000 at the site last year, believing it would stay open, and had forecast a profit of more than 70,000 this year.

"Massive loss"

Many local people also want the centre to stay open, claiming it is a valuable service to the community.

Campaigners Emma Jones and her mother Anne Jones, who joined the protest in the youth hostel's grounds, used to use a children's nursery which operated on site.

Emma Jones said: "The nursery has been forced to find a new site now, but we're still campaigning on behalf of the youth hostel because these grounds have been very important to us for a long time now.

"It will be such a massive loss for Llangollen. This place brings local business, and provides such a wonderful service for inner city children."

Protesters joined representatives from Pro-Active to hand over petitions to the AMs on Wednesday.

The AMs agreed to take the petitions to the assembly government to see whether any help could be provided.

Plaid Cymru AM Janet Ryder said: "This centre is meeting the YHA's core aims. I would urge people to put as much pressure as possible on the board of the YHA to change their minds."

Llangollen YHA
The roof at Llangollen YHA needs renovating

Liberal Democrat Eleanor Burnham said: "The YHA is a wonderful organisation. They say they cannot afford as a charity to invest in the building. Perhaps we should be helping."

Conservative Mark Isherwood said he was "horrified" at the decision. "This is a unique building and location providing a very important and special service," he said.

Labour's Karen Sinclair said: "This would be a huge loss, not just to the young people, but to the community - young people who come to Llangollen hopefully return as adults."

Announcing the closure last month, YHA's Mark Farmer said: "Llangollen is a very expensive hostel to run and it needs at least half-a-million pounds spending.

"We've invested a lot of money in recent years in upkeep, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough."




SEE ALSO:
Closure battle over youth hostel
13 Mar 06 |  North East Wales


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific