Easthampstead Park Conference Centre - frequently asked questions
We are aware there is some inaccurate information circulating about the future of Easthampstead Park Conference Centre. To help our residents and community understand the facts, we’ve pulled together some frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you having to look at options for the future of Easthampstead Park?
Easthampstead Park Conference Centre is a large, old building that costs a vast amount to run. The council has been subsidising the venue by approximately £250,000 a year for several years. This is unsustainable in the current financial climate.
Given the financial challenge we face, the council cannot afford to keep running this building in its current form.
We want to ensure the building remains part of the borough’s heritage, is invested in and continues to provide a venue for weddings and events. If we continued to operate it as is, then there is the possibility that we would be unable to keep running it and it could end up being closed to the public. We do not want to this to happen.
By looking at options for the site, we are taking responsible steps to secure the building’s safe future within our borough. We are keen to see it flourish and for it to remain an integral part of our community.
Is Bracknell Forest Council selling Easthampstead Park Conference Centre?
We are looking at options for Easthampstead Park. No decision will be made until detailed work is complete. This includes expert advice from property company Christie & Co. While talk of a sale is premature, the council is clear that if the building is sold it must benefit the centre, council and our residents.
When will you be in a position to make a decision?
We will not make a decision before detailed and expert work on possible options for the site is complete. A decision will not be made until April 2018.
Will you be turning it into houses?
No, we have no desire to see this grand part of the borough’s history turned into flats or other homes. If a sale does go ahead it must be as a like-for-like business providing a venue for conferences, weddings and possibly hotel accommodation. Turning it in to homes has never been a consideration.
There’s information circulating that it is earmarked for housing – is that right?
No, we have not earmarked this site for homes. It will not be turned into a building for residential use, or office space.
We know how important the building is to our community and this - coupled with it being an historic listed building surrounded by ancient woodland - means it would be inappropriate to put the site forward to housing developers. It is not included in the Local Plan for housing, neither will it be in the Local Plan we are developing to cover the period to 2034.
Will weddings and functions currently booked there be safe?
Yes, any new operator will honour all existing bookings and they will be carried out to the same standard as currently offered. There is no threat to weddings or other bookings already made at Easthampstead Park or future bookings.
Can couples book weddings at Easthampstead Park for post April 2018?
Yes, very much so. Easthampstead Park is continuing to book weddings and functions for post April 2018 and provides a wonderful venue for a couple’s ‘big day’. All bookings are secure and will be offered at the same standard as they are currently.
What is happening to Berkshire Lowland Rescue, which is based at Easthampstead Park?
Our current lease with Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (SEBEV) runs until February 2018. SEBEV has not approached us or asked us to renew the lease beyond that point. Given the intent to expand the business and improve the quality of Easthampstead Park as a wedding and conference venue, SEBEV’s vehicle parking and storage requirements are not felt to be compatible with an enhanced facility. SEBEV is right to assume that the lease will end as agreed.