A LAKE District youth hostel threatened with closure has been bought by the boss of an arts organisation.

The loss-making Thorney How Youth Hostel at Grasmere was earmarked for closure last year, despite benefiting from £750,000 of investment.

But Taylor Nuttall, chief executive of Folly in Lancaster, has bought the hostel, which he intends to run with his wife, Carolyn.

“We have both been working independently doing different careers,” said Mr Nuttall.

“We talked about running a business together and, over the past few years, we have been looking at different properties in the Lake District.

"The youth hostel came through at the right time.”

Mr Nuttall said he wants to make the centre more accessible to visitors and provide a range of accommodation.

“Our plan is to be able to offer a mix rather than being designated as cheap and cheerful. We want to give people a flexible choice,” he said.

The couple, who both come from a hostel background, have already taken their first Easter bookings and are advertising an assistant manager’s post.

Mr Nuttall also intends changing the way the hostel was previously used while under YHA control.

“This is going to be our home, so it will be much more friendly accommodation with a sense of being cared for.

"We want to make more use of the grounds and expand the way people access the space,”

said Mr Nuttall.

“Every youth hostel is closed during the day and we see more of an opportunity to give people access during the daytime.”

Duncan Simpson, YHA head of corporate affairs and policy for England and Wales, said: “We’re sad this hostel will no longer be part of YHA’s network, but we’re pleased it will continue to offer accommodation to visitors in Grasmere.”

Ellis Butcher, of Cumbria Tourism, said: “We are delighted the sale has had a positive outcome.

"Many visitors to Grasmere will have fond memories of staying at that hostel.”

The YHA will continue to run Grasmere’s other youth hostel at Burtharlyp Howe.