CLOSING an outdoor education centre in Monmouthshire may need to be considered in the future, but it is hoped that an alternative can still be found, a councillor has said.

Monmouthshire council is looking to move to a “more sustainable model” of providing outdoor education, with its current service predicting an overspend of £95,000.

The county council currently provides outdoor activities at Hilston Park near Monmouth and Gilwern Outdoor Centre near Abergavenny.

Moving to a single site may need to be considered in the future, but any such decision would be subject to a public consultation.

Councillor Richard John, cabinet member for children, young people and Mon Life, told a cabinet meeting this week that any such decision would be “very difficult.”

“Today we are not deciding to close the site, but we are recognising the need to move to a more sustainable model which may in future require consulting on a move to invest in a single site,” he said.

“That would be a very difficult decision for us, but recognising how important outdoor education is to the life chances of young people, offering them leadership skills and valuable life skills, it is something we may need to consider.”

A council report suggests the grade-II listed Hilston Park would be the more likely to close, with the centre said to be “in dire need of investment.”

Keeping the two sites has become “increasingly challenging” financially after the Gwent Outdoor Education Service Partnership - a collaboration with Newport, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent councils - was ended last year.

The Talybont outdoor centre in Powys - which was provided by the partnership - has now closed, leaving Monmouthshire to provide activities at the two remaining sites alone.

But councillor Penny Jones said she hopes an alternative to another site closure can be found.

She said: “I am somewhat reassured to hear you say we are looking into all kinds of sustainable models of delivery, not just thinking along one line.

“We may have to accept the inevitable in the end - perhaps it will be the inevitable - but let’s hope that we can find alternatives.”

The council is also looking to take a more commercial approach to help sustain the service, which could include offering more adventure days and flexible packages.