ONE of Oxfordshire’s best known visitor attractions will not open to the public this year.

Cogges Manor Farm Museum, in Witney, closed at the end of August last year and was due to open next month under the new management of a charitable trust.

But Oxfordshire County Council, which currently runs the site, said the handover to Cogges Shadow Board was taking longer than expected.

The 30-year-old museum historically shuts at the end of the summer season and reopens for the Easter weekend.

Julia Holberry, director of the board, said: “We are not going to open at Easter because we need to invest in the site over the next year.”

Ms Holberry said the trust was aiming to open the museum next year, but would not say what work was being undertaken or how much was being spent on any revamp.

The museum’s website said a number of small-scale pre-booked events would run at the site, but it would not open on a daily basis in 2010.

County Hall spokesman Marcus Mabberley could not say when the attraction would re-open, although the handover could now take place in June.

Mr Mabberley said: “The council and the trustees are working together to finalise the best way forward.

“This has taken a little longer than originally anticipated.”

The Victorian working farm had been running at a loss of about £200,000 a year for the past few seasons, despite attracting 30,000 visitors every year.

The statement on the Cogges website said: “Cogges needs capital development in order to flourish in the future. This will take time and money.”

Mike Breakell, of West Oxfordshire District Council, was planning to take Norwegian friends to the attraction this week.

He said: “Cogges was always difficult to run financially but it is about providing something for the local people and visitors.

“Oxfordshire quite rightly is very proud of its tourism, bringing us lots of money and jobs. But we are going backwards if the trust isn’t going forwards.”

Father-of-five Keith Green, 45, of Bartlett Close, said: “My two eldest have been to Cogges and I think for school kids it’s good. It needs marketing more and pushing out there.”

The trust will be responsible for managing the museum’s county council-funded budget of £160,000 per year until 2012.

It will also oversee an application for Lottery funding.