'Deeply upsetting' - Heartlands visitor attraction in Camborne to close amid spiralling costs

Heartlands, near Camborne, will close at the end of January.

A well-known visitor attraction in one of Cornwall's poorest areas will close at the end of January due to rising costs.

Heartlands, in the former mining district of Pool, near Camborne and Redruth, opened in 2012, thanks to over £ 20 million in lottery funding.

According to Cornwall Council, 360,000 people visit the attraction every year, to enjoy the indoor and outdoor spaces, Christmas market, and largest free playground in the county.

But now, the Heartlands Trust - the charity that runs the attraction and employs its staff - has said it cannot cover the operating costs of the site.

Cornwall Council said in a statement: "Despite its popularity, recent economic conditions have meant that utility costs have considerably increased and income from operations has decreased. 

 "All of the funding options currently available have now been exhausted and Cornwall Council is not in a position to be able to step in and provide ongoing financial support for the current operation. "

It added that the cafe, soft play area, conference centre, meeting rooms would close at the end of January.

The local authority went on to say: "Heartlands had never seen itself as a commercial operation: but finance has always been precarious.

"Budget over-runs on the original build project meant vital units intended to provide rental streams were never built: and intended developer contributions for playground maintenance were never received." 

"While deeply upsetting for the Trust and its staff, we all remain fully committed to the interests of our community and to a transparent approach to keeping you all informed.

"We will offer our full support to all the staff involved. 

"The Trust of course commits to refunding any deposits paid, or tickets bought, for future events that are cancelled," Cornwall Council said.

Despite the indoor attractions closing, the local authority said the public would still be able to access the park, gardens, registration service and commercially let shops and offices.  

The history of Heartlands  

Heartlands opened in 2012 with £22million from the National Lottery. It was hoped it would improve life for the local community, which is among the most deprived in Cornwall.

It offered access to a playground, green space and meeting rooms, but was also intended to encourage better standards of housing nearby.

According to Cornwall Council, 360,000 people visit Heartlands every year, with over 2,000 coming for the Christmas market, and 8,000 attending the three-day Geekfest.

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