Nature reserve visitor centre force to close

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The visitor centre at a flagship new nature reserve has been shut down after the site owners went into administration.

The St Aidan’s reserve near Great Preston officially opened to the public earlier this year.

But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has announced that the car park and visitor centre will be shut until further notice because of a lack of a formal lease arrangement.

UK Coal, which went into administration on July 9, had been due to hand over the site to Leeds City Council, which would then have leased the land to the RSPB. But the charity say UK Coal’s financial situation had created “significant uncertainty” over when the handover and subsequent lease will be in place. Because the RSPB has no legal tenure, it says they have been forced to shut the centre down.

A number of events have had to be cancelled, including the Summer BioBlitz on July 20-21.