The "magic" of Braeside will be lost for children if the activity centre moves to a Wiltshire College campus, say campaigners supporting the outdoor education site in Devizes.

Outdoor education centres will be secured for future generations of children to enjoy, say Wiltshire Council, following fierce public backlash in March over a decision to close Oxenwood and Braeside.

However plans to move Devizes based Braeside 10 miles down the road to Lackham College in Lacock has been met with anger from campaigners who want to see the current site kept open.

If given approval, a new purpose built centre at Lackham’s agricultural college would teach children about how food is grown and farmed alongside outdoor adventure activities and overnight accommodation for 120 children.

The Braeside site has been valued at £500,000, but Wiltshire Council has not confirmed what would happen to the site if it were to close.

Speaking during a cabinet meeting held in County Hall, Trowbridge, Cllr Brian Mathew said: “I welcome the decision to keep two sites open, a decision that has come following community protest. However with the move to Lackham, which is a higher education site, where will the magic be where be for children, where will access be to a nearby market town and safe canoeing? Braeside staff say it is paying its way so it seems to be about selling off a Wiltshire Council asset. Once Braeside is gone, it is gone.”

Chair of managers at Braeside, David Borrie, added: “The council’s duty of care to its employees has been woeful. Three times the closure date has been moved back. There is clear signs of stress among the staff.”

Cabinet member for finance, Phillip Whitehead, said: “Braeside has been running at a loss for a number of years and is at breaking stage. We have balanced social benefit against financial and we have come up with a solution for the next generation for our children. We will inform staff at all stages until we come back in March. We will continue the dialogue with other bids as well as the preferred bids.”

Seven bids to take over the under threat centres were submitted to Wiltshire Council in the Autumn with Wiltshire College and charity Community First named as the two preferred bids.

The decision to hand control of Oxenwood, near Marlborough, over to charity group Community First was described as “fantastic news” by supporters of a petition against its closure, which gained 16000 signatures in March. Both Braeside and Oxenwood will now continue to be run by Wiltshire Council until January 2020, if required. A formal decision on the sites will be made by the cabinet in March.