Campaigners fighting to preserve an outdoor activity centre run by Colne Valley High School in Linthwaite have made a formal complaint to the Charity Commission.
The move follows a decision by trustees to close and sell off the Peter Brook Centre (PBC), near Betws-y-Coed in north Wales. Bought in 1974, the adventure centre was a holiday destination for hundreds of pupils for more than 30 years.
Jennifer Ryan, who as Chair of the Colne Valley High School Local Governing Body and Chair of Trustees of the Peter Brook Centre is spearheading proposals to sell off the facility, said the school did not need its own activity centre as there was a proliferation of other providers.
She added that it was disruptive to the education of students to take them out of school, and that the evolution of education had made the centre redundant.
“It can never be reinstated because education has changed,” she wrote in a letter published on the school’s website.
It is proposed that the centre be sold with proceeds being invested on the school site to provide facilities that can be used by students on evenings and weekends.
But members of the Bring Back the Peter Brook Centre Campaign are angry that after visiting the centre - called Pant-yr-Arian, but renamed in honour of Peter Brook, a former teacher at the school and an outstanding Alpine mountaineer who was killed by an avalanche on the Matterhorn in 1973 - an offer to run it on a volunteer basis was rebuffed.
Retired teacher Trevor Woolley accused Mrs Ryan of wasting campaigners’ time.
He said: “Despite accepting Mrs Ryan’s invitation to visit the PBC on Sunday, with their expectations of persuading her to abandon her plan to sell the Centre, Richard Smith and Joanne Pearson’s hopes were dashed.
“A brief inspection showed that the cottage had deteriorated due to neglect and lack of maintenance. Fortunately there was nothing that could not be rectified with hard work.
“The main obstacle to progress was the intransigence shown by Mrs Ryan. In spite of the offer made by the Friends of the Peter Brook Centre to run the administration of the centre, carry out the maintenance, supply staff and a programme of improvements and upgrades, Mrs Ryan as Chair of the two-person Board of Trustees, refused to be persuaded to accept the offer.
“It seems that she does not share the belief and passion of the many hundreds of people in the Colne Valley.
“As a result the Friends of the Peter Brook Centre have been left with no option but to present the Charity Commission with documented evidence that demonstrates how the centre can only be saved for the children and people of the Colne Valley by removing the present trustees.”
Colne Valley High School did not respond to a request to comment.