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Cash crisis hits PoW tourist site

17 December 07 09:27 GMT

A former Prisoner of War camp, which was turned into a tourist attraction three years ago, is to be mothballed because of financial troubles.

Harperley camp, near Crook in County Durham, housed German and Italian prisoners during World War II.

It won ancient monument status, after being bought by James and Lisa Mcleod in 2001, and has a 1940s tearoom, old fashioned street and a farm shop.

But it has suffered falling visitor numbers and high maintenance costs.

Mr Mcleod said redundancy notices were being issued to 25 staff.

'Exciting place'

He said he hoped talks with local authorities and government agencies could come up with a rescue package to see the 20-acre site reopen next year.

Mr Mcleod said: "Unfortunately the public are going to be denied the chance to visit a very interesting and exciting place, which we need to get developed.

"We need to get all the local authorities together to see what they way forward is."

The site narrowly missed out on a £2m windfall, when it was featured on the BBC's Restoration - but it failed to win enough public votes.

However, it did win support from Defra's Rural Enterprise Scheme and was awarded £200,000.

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