Community bid to buy Streatley Youth Hostel fails
A historic hostel has been sold.
Back in July, newburytoday reported how the Youth Hostels Association had put a third of its national properties on the market — including Hill House in Streatley.
The community rallied to buy and run the much-loved hostel as a franchise through the YHA — but their efforts have been unsuccessful.
Community campaigner Mark Kibble, of the Friends of Streatley YHA, says the YHA has rejected their proposal and confirmed the property is being sold to a private investor.
Mr Kibble began fighting for the hostel’s future after previous attempts to sell, fearing any new owners would close and redevelop the site, resulting in a significant loss for the local area.
He said: “We raised £350,000 but asked for more time so we could try and secure additional capital from public and private trusts and funding bodies. That request was rejected.”
He continued: “It is deeply disappointing we are unable to proceed with running the hostel as a community project.
“Our plans to enhance and upgrade the hostel and establish a Ridgeway and Thames Path Visitor Centre, a community café and other facilities cannot now be realised.
“We sincerely hope the new owner will maintain the building as a hostel and will be in contact in due course to see if 'The Friends' can be involved to help.”
A YHA spokesperson said: “[Hill House] remains for sale and we are in negotiations with a number of potential buyers.
“We have been encouraged by the number of enquiries regarding the site remaining in our network as a franchise operation.”
In a previous statement, the YHA outlined its plans to refocus its resources to support a smaller number of hostels by 2026, running at a higher capacity and maintained by a smaller central team.
Wherever possible, it said it would look for new partners to take over the running and management of those sites where it determined a franchise model would work best.
Mr Kibble wishes to thank Newbury MP Laura Farris, West Berkshire Council leader Lee Dillon and other local district councillors and community members who he said helped in seeking additional funding.
Hill House has provided low-cost overnight accommodation to thousands of schools, youth groups and tourists for almost 90 years, having been donated to the YHA by local resident, Florence Reiss, in 1935.