Bidders sought for dry ski slope as Wycombe Summit falls off a cliff

The Bank of Scotland has called in the receivers at England's longest dry ski slope, Wycombe Summit.

Receiver Gareth Roberts, of Hurst Morrison Thomson, is now seeking a buyer for the High Wycombe business, which boasts a 300m ski slop and a log cabin-style centre housing a bar, restaurant and shop.

Mr Roberts was appointed after it emerged that Wycombe Summit was no longer able to service its debt. The Bank of Scotland, now part of HBOS, holds the largest tranche and is owed £500,000 out of a total of around £2m. The rest is held by shareholders who invested in the business when it was set up in 1995.

Mr Roberts said Wycome Summit had failed to generate enough revenues, though he insisted the site remained popular with skiers. "It will be a very good business when freed from the burden of debt," he added.

The company also has outline planning permission for a health and fitness club.

A price has not been set for the business, and Mr Roberts hopes to attract a number of bids. "Without paying the interest on the debt ... it covers its costs. So I'm under no fantastic pressure. "

However, he conceded that Wycombe Summit would have to be sold as a going concern as it would not raise enough cash if sold off in parts. Mr Roberts added that the site had "absolutely no use" other than as a dry ski slope.

There are only a handful of ski slopes in the UK, but it is an area that has attracted former Millennium Dome manager PY Gerbeau. He is chief executive of X-Leisure, which operates a leisure centre in Milton Keynes featuring a ski slope.

M. Gerbeau was unfazed by the collapse of Wycombe Summit, saying the use of real snow at X-Leisure meant the two businesses were not comparable. He added: "It is as different as night and day. It is like trying to swim in a tub instead of a swimming pool."

M. Gerbeau said he had no interest in buying the site and converting it into a real snow ski slope.

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