Swaffham's Green Britain Centre closes suddenly
A Swaffham eco-attraction has closed suddenly amid what officials claim have been long-standing financial concerns.
The demise of the Green Britain Centre was revealed in a statement on its website and social media accounts yesterday evening.
It said: "We’re sorry to announce that the Green Britain Centre is now closed to the public and for any future events and bookings.
"Thank you to our visitors and friends for your loyal support over the years."
The centre's Facebook page also published a statement from Dale Vince, founder of the Ecotricity Group which oversaw the centre.
It said: "We took responsibility for what was the EcoTech Centre about a decade ago – stepping in to save it from what would have been its third insolvency, because we thought It was a brilliant idea worthy of support.
"We always believed it had an important role to play in the journey to a Greener Britain and we relaunched it as the Green Britain Centre a few years ago.
"Despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to bring the centre to something resembling a break-even position ten years later.
"It’s with some regret that we believe we’ve reached the end of the road. It’s a particular shame for the many local schools that visit each year, but we just can’t make it work.
"We’ll work closely with the landlord Breckland Council to hand the building back. I hope they can do something good with it. And we’re willing to help them with that if we can.
"The centre was ground-breaking for a number of reasons – it was Britain’s first megawatt class windmill in 1999, and the only open for the public to climb, anywhere in the world. At the time, it was also Britain’s largest timber framed building. It’s a special place.
We want to thank everybody who has been a part of the Green Britain Centre – the staff, volunteers and visitors for their support."
The news was described as "very sad" by town councillor Anne Thorp in a Twitter post this morning.
But others have criticised the centre for continuing to take bookings despite its financial troubles.
A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “We have been surprised by the announcement that the Green Britain Centre is to close.
"As the owner of the building and surrounding land, we expect to work closely with the current tenant through their notice period to ensure a smooth handover.
"We will also now consider opportunities for the best use of the site in the future.”