Plans to develop a former police training centre as a multi-million pound educational activity centre have taken a major step forward.
Kingswood Educational Activity Centres has now completed the purchase of Ashford’s Grosvenor Hall and land around it.
Grosvenor Hall, below, was a regional police training centre for 30 years until its closure in 2006.
Part of the Education Travel Group, Kingswood says it plans to create the top educational activity centre in Europe on the 50-acre Grosvenor Hall site in Kennington.
The new venture will create up to 150 jobs, many for instructor/delivery staff in the 18 to 14-year-age group, says the company.
Kingswood says the site will reopen in March 2010 “with some of the best outdoor education facilities in the UK.”
It will offer tailored courses that are difficult to cover in a classroom environment, combining educational modules with activities.
There will be 375 beds for residential stays, 18 classrooms for ICT and language learning, a media centre and 30,000 sq ft of sports facilities.
Among facilities being added will be a lake with kayaking and raft-building activities, a 22,000 sq ft sports hall, an indoor centre for swimming and scuba diving, and a ropes park for team-building activities.
Dean Saunders, centre director of Kingswood Grosvenor Hall said: “ We believe passionately in the value of learning outside the classroom and all of our centres are aimed to benefit education in the local area.
An artist's impression of the new centre
“We shall be taking great care to ensure the new facilities are affordable for local schools, so that teachers and pupils across the south east can take advantage of the facilities on their doorstep.
“We’re keen to get local people involved in the project and will be organising an open day for local residents to look around the centre early next year. All development works will use local contractors and we anticipate that Grosvenor Hall will create 150 new jobs in the Ashford area.”