Somerset County Council’s Executive has confirmed that the council will seek to end its activities at Dillington House in Ilminster on 30th September 2023.
Operations in the building currently run at a substantial loss and this decision will enable resources to be focused on its statutory duties.
The council has leased the 16th Century Grade 2 listed country house since September 1966 and has used it as a centre for Adult Education, conferences/business meetings and more recently for social events and weddings. It also currently accommodates the Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning (SCIL).
The current lease has a break clause in March 2023 and the council is seeking to adjust the terms of the lease to enable it to continue activities until the end of September 2023, allowing it to deliver weddings already booked for next summer and minimise disruption to academic courses and other events.
Councillor Liz Leyshon, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council and Lead Member for Finance and Human Resources said: “I know how much Dillington House has been loved and valued over more than five decades of Somerset County Council operation.
“Regrettably a deficit has accumulated over the past 11 years of more than £1.8million and in the current financial year a further deficit is predicted of approximately £500,000, reflecting increased energy and other costs.
“The Grade 2 Listing of the building means that it is protected for the nation, and we are hopeful that the ownership of Dillington House and estate may establish future use of the building for the people of Somerset and beyond. “The current situation of uncertainty created by inflationary factors mean that the Council is experiencing real financial pressures and we have to make clear decisions in a timely way, even when they cause disappointment for residents and staff.”
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