Anonymous donor saves four visitor centres in the Peak District from closure

The front of the visitor centre in Bakewell
Four visitor centres in the Peak District, including Bakewell's, were earmarked for closure. Credit: ITV News

An anonymous donor has saved four visitor centres in the Peak District from closing.

The Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) had put forward proposals to close the centres in Bakewell, Bamford, Castleford and Edale, all in Derbyshire, due to funding pressures, saying it had faced a real-terms funding cut in recent years.

Campaigners in the towns and villages said it would have damaged tourism and local businesses, and a decision on whether to close the centres was due to be made on 28 July.

It was reported at least 65 jobs could have been lost Credit: ITV News

While the Authority has said the donation is 'very good news' the chief executive, Paul Mulligan says 'deep-seated financial challenges' remain.

He said; "This is certainly very good news and I appreciate the relief it will bring to the many colleagues who will have been affected by the proposals for our visitor centres so far.

"Whilst we are incredibly grateful to the donor for their generous offer, allowing us to continue visitor centre operations for up to another three years, our deep-seated financial challenges as an organisation do remain and other colleagues within additional teams may still be impacted in the weeks and months ahead.

"After a decade of real-terms cuts to our core government grant, it is vital that we continue to maintain a spotlight on our affordability and resilience as an authority; but this unexpected support potentially gives us time to explore and develop ways for our visitor centres to become financially sustainable in the future without such additional funding being needed.

"Our donor recognises that visitor centres need to be financially viable and we will need to start work straight away on creating that long-term viability."

The Peak District attracts millions of visitors each year Credit: ITV News

Employees have been told about the donation, with their jobs now secured, with previous reports saying that at least 65 jobs were at risk.

The PDNPA would not disclose how much it costs to run the centres, which welcome around 400,000 people every year.

The Peak District as a whole welcomes more than 13,000,000 people each year. It was the first designated National Park in the UK and is one of the most visited National Parks in the world. It spans 555 square miles.