A DECISION has been taken that will see the former Nature’s World site in Middlesbrough continue to be used for environmentally friendly projects.

Options rejected by Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Sub-Committee for Property included disposing of the land for housing or commercial use or through a community asset transfer.

As a result the authority will now look for possible leisure and educational uses for the land in the short to medium term.

The decision to retain ownership also gives the Council flexibility for any long term strategic use should it wish to use the site to support future development in the south of the town.

Talks are already underway with Middlesbrough Environment City about their relocating to the Ladgate Lane site and it is hoped that this will take place later in the year.

Other organisations which could be offered low level use of parts of the land include agricultural and horticultural specialists Askham Bryan College and sustainable communities charity Groundwork.

Councillor Dave Budd, Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Sub-Committee, said: “The former Nature’s World site is a considerable asset for the town, so it’s right that detailed consideration has been given to possible options for its future use.

“To be able to retain the site as a land asset and for it to be used by organisations with a strong commitment to nature and environmentally-friendly schemes is the most appropriate course of action.

“The decision taken also supports ongoing community access and activity on the site and we are sure that those groups highlighted will have an equally strong commitment to this principle.”

Other ideas that had been put forward as suggestions in the report was using part of the site for an expansion of Teesside Crematorium and Acklam Cemetery, as well as expanding on the offer at existing facilities such as Stewart Park and Newham Grange Leisure Farm.

Nature’s World ceased operating as a visitor centre in 2012 and the site returned to the control of Middlesbrough Council the following year.

The authority had supported the centre since its launch in 1989, including the provision of more than 25 acres of land at a nominal rent and financial support.

The site has been secured and maintained following its closure at a cost of around £60,000 a year.