Villagers have spoken of their concerns after discovering a youth hostel in Kettlewell has been put up for sale.

The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) has notified Craven District Council that it is putting its 40-bed hostel on the market.

One of 138 YHA hostels in England and Wales, it has three staff and has been in the village since 1943. It has also housed the local post office since 2004.

Kettlewell resident Ian Cuthbert, who lives next to the hostel, said: “This is a catastrophe on two grounds – one is the loss of revenue to the village and more importantly, the loss of a post office. This doesn’t affect Kettlewell, it affects the whole of the upper dale. I’m very, very concerned about the community.”

Upper Wharfedale’s ward councillor, John Roberts, said: “I’m very disappointed it has to come to this, but I also recognise the YHA is a commercial organisation.

“The closure will affect the community. Visitors who use the hostel get their sandwiches from the post office and in the evening they will use the three pubs in the village.

“We’re trying to push for sustainable tourism and when one of our key tourism offerings goes up for sale, it’s not good.”

Coun Roberts also said it was vital to keep the post office open for the sustainability of the village. “We’re the only post office between Hawes and Grassing-ton. It’s used by a lot of people up and down the valley,” he said.

A spokesman for the YHA said: ”As part of YHA’s investment plans, YHA Kettlewell will be put on the market for sale. We hope that the buyer will be able to continue to operate the site as a youth hostel, under our enterprise scheme, and that they will keep the post office on the site.”

He said YHA Kettlewell would remain open until the end of September, when a business decision would be taken if no buyer came forward.

The spokesman said: “YHA constantly reviews the quality and the locations of our accommodation to ensure that our members and guests are getting the best experience.

“YHA’s Board of Trustees has made the decision to announce the closure of a number of sites. The money will be used to invest in others. Decisions like hostel closures are never taken lightly and the staff at the affected sites are our first priority.”