EASTHAMPSTEAD PARK Conference Centre will be sold and turned into a hotel, it was decided this evening (April 10).

The council's executive met to discuss the future of the town's historic Victorian mansion and it was agreed that selling it is the most viable option.

The council claims that it could no longer afford to run the historic facility and that selling it off was the best way of ensuring that the iconic landmark's future is protected. 

The mansion, surrounded by 60 acres of woodland, will be soon purchased by an 'experienced third party conference and hotel operator' which is expected to invest significant funds into upgrading Bracknell's pride and joy.

Councillor Iain McCracken, executive member for culture, resources and public protection, said: “We are 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."

There had innitially been speculation that the venue would be sold for housing but it was reiterated that this was not the case.

Cllr McCracken added: “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.