The future of Easthampstead Park Conference Centre (EPCC) was secured on Tuesday, 10 April, at the meeting of the council’s decision-making executive.
After reviewing various options for the listed building, the executive concluded that the sale of the conference and wedding business as a going concern, was the best financially viable way forward to protect and maintain EPCC’s future.
The venue is due to be bought and operated by a highly professional and experienced third party conference and hotel operator with the means to significantly invest in the building, enhance its services, open it up to allow more public access and so secure this wonderful venue and asset for the residents of Bracknell Forest.
Cllr Iain McCracken, executive member for culture, resources and public protection, said:
“We’re delighted the future of this important venue and its ancient woodland is set to be secured and will become even more accessible for local residents and businesses, as well as those from further afield.
“The prospective owner is a leading hotel and conference operator who will not only protect existing jobs, but also create additional job opportunities for the area. They will also invest significantly in the buildings and grounds to offer a comprehensive range of improved services.
“We are aware there has been much speculation over recent months about EPCC and we hope this decision will go some way to dispelling any unfounded fears the public may have had about this listed venue and surrounding woodland being sold for residential homes.
“As we have stated many times before, this is not the case. The site is not included as a housing allocation in the council’s draft local plan and continues to maintain a gap between Bracknell and Wokingham.
“As with the sale of any property, there are certain legalities which must be satisfied before the sale can be finalised. Until this period is concluded, we are unable to provide any details of the buyer and I would politely ask members of the public to refrain from indulging in speculation and hearsay, which quite often breeds inaccurate information.
“As part of the sale agreement, all current employees of EPCC will be transferred across to the new operator on their existing terms and conditions. As soon as we are legally in a position to do so, we will communicate further accurate information regarding the sale and details of the new operator.
“We are very excited about what the future now holds for EPCC and it’s great that this building will not be left to suffer or even close through lack of investment, which would have been a likely outcome without this sale.”
All existing bookings at EPCC remain unaffected by this decision and will go ahead as planned.