Hostel-Style Accommodation Planned For Longstone

Longstone Heritage Centre and Cafe

New, affordable, 20-person accommodation for school groups and outdoor activity lovers is being proposed for St Mary’s.

Wendy Clarke, who currently lives in Hatfield in Hertfordshire, has applied for the renewal of planning consent to transform the Longstone Centre into a youth hostel or bunk-style accommodation.

The current permission, granted in 2005, has lapsed.

Wendy wants to extend the season and bring new affordability to people who love the outdoors.

Wendy says she loves Scilly and the only way she can move here permanently is to buy a business. She used to spend every childhood holiday on Tresco with her relatives, Dave and Sandy Thomas.

The applicant says it’s difficult to sustain the business on the back of the small cafe at the moment and people no longer want to visit the Heritage Centre which is why it has closed down. Under the proposals, the cafe would still remain but would be smaller with space for about 45 people.

A room would be set aside for teaching sessions and could be used for natural history evenings and birdwatching seminars. Two chalets at the front of the building will have accommodation for supervisors for students on trips.

The applicant also says it could be used as locals’ housing in the winter.

Wendy says she has her own funding for the conversion but she expects assistance from universities, colleges and schools with whom she has spoken about her plans. She says that the Wildlife Trust believes there will be interest in the project from conservation groups.

Wendy has good contacts amongst outdoor sports groups and is a member of an extreme sports group, She Who Dares.

She recently arranged accommodation for Olympic white water canoeists near her Hertfordshire home and says she’d encourage adventure holiday lovers to come to Scilly as part of the plan.

Planners will discuss renewing the permission in September. The buildings would retain their current appearance with wooden cladding, but there would be the addition of shutters as a point of interest.

Wendy has been over twice this year to work on her proposals and says she made more friends during her week of research on the islands than she has in 15 years living in Essex.