OUTDOOR activity centre Ingleborough Hall in Clapham is likely to be sold off as part of Bradford Council's likely cuts of £40m over the next three years.

The proposal would see bookings transferred to the council's Buckden House outdoor education centre at Buckden, which would also offer respite and short breaks at a 'significantly reduced rate compared to the open market'.

The council, which is facing its 'most difficult budget it has experienced to date' is trying to fight off bankruptcy and is proposing selling off the outdoor education centre as part of a raft of savings.

In addition to disposing of Ingleborough Hall, the council is proposing closing waste sites, increasing car parking charges, axing 113 jobs and increasing its council tax precept by nearly five per cent.

And the cuts may still not be enough to prevent the council from effectively declaring bankruptcy – leaders are still in dialogue with Government for “exceptional financial support” that would allow the authority to balance a budget that is expected to overspend by around £72m this year.

A meeting of the council's executive on Thursday (January 11) will consider proposed cuts and savings before consulting with the public, interested parties, staff and trade unions.

In a report to councillors by the council's director of finance, Ingleborough Hall, a former Victorian mansion, is described as running at a deficit and having 'high levels of backlog maintenance'.

The report states: "Ingleborough Hall, along with Buckden House, is a traded service with a deficit that is currently funded from the council’s core budget. Following a recent condition survey, high levels of backlog maintenance have been identified to bring Ingleborough Hall up to the required standards.

"Due to the scale of the works outlined, it is proposed that the building should be disposed of. Bookings would transition to Buckden House which would then run as a fully traded service. This would generate savings related to staffing.

"The retention of Buckden also enables provision of respite and short breaks at a significantly reduced rate compared to the open market. This will support cost avoidance of the growing financial pressure being experienced in the trust via the provision of short breaks and holiday respite provision."

The council is in consultation with Government asking for “extraordinary financial support” that would allow it to borrow money to balance its budget, and use money raised from asset sales – which can normally only be used on capital projects, on funding services.

If this support is not given, the council will likely become the latest in a line of local authorities to effectively declare bankruptcy.