Shropshire Star

14 jobs at risk as tourist attraction announces closure of visitor centre

A visitor centre has announced its immediate closure – with 14 jobs at risk.

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the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth brings in tourists from all over the world

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has been based in Corris, near Machynlleth, since the 1970s.

It has been a showcase for solutions to tackle climate change and has attracted thousands of tourists over the years – along with educational visits.

In a statement the charity said its visitor centre would close to visitors from today.

It said the decision had been taken with a "heavy heart", adding that a number of factors had made it "economically unviable".

The charity said it would be working towards "wider redevelopment plans" and is hoping to reopen the centre.

It said: "We confirm with a heavy heart the closure of CAT’s visitor centre to day visitors from November 9, 2023. It will remain open for students, pre-booked group visits, events, and courses.

"Sadly, 14 positions are at risk at CAT and a full consultation is taking place across at least 14 days. Staff wellbeing is of utmost priority, and we are providing specialist support to staff during this difficult time.

"This decision has been made due to a number of factors, during a challenging time for the charity sector in the UK. The combination of rising running costs, reduced visitor numbers to Wales post-pandemic and funding delays have made it economically inviable to continue operating the visitor centre in its current model — despite our best efforts to mitigate these factors."

The charity said it would be concentrating on plans for the future.

It said: "The closure of the current visitor centre to day visitors will, however, allow CAT to focus on strengthening economically viable aspects of its operations — helping us deliver on our mission to create and share practical solutions to tackle the climate and nature emergency.

"CAT remains strongly committed to its proposed wider redevelopment plans, which feature significant improvements to the visitor offer. These proposals remain under consideration for funding from the Mid Wales Growth Deal and other sources. Once secured, these funds will ensure CAT can re-open to day visitors, providing additional tourism and education opportunities for the communities of Mid Wales and beyond.

"In the meantime, the Graduate School of the Environment, short course delivery and Zero Carbon Britain Hub and Innovation Lab are unaffected — allowing CAT to continue its vital work in providing green skills for the future."