Little Abington Parish Council – Scout Camp Site

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Cambridgeshire Scout county executive council (CEC) has put the scout camp site up for sale, with planning permission for three bungalows and replacement buildings for the camp site. It is very clear that it is determined to sell the site.
At an open meeting in the village on 16 May, we were given a strong mandate to work with various other groups to develop a plan for keeping the site as an open space open to scouts and others. It is shown as “Local Green Space” in the Draft Local Plan and is in the conservation area.
The parish council applied for, and was granted, a community asset listing, which gives a 6 month moratorium during which time only a bid from a community interest group may be accepted. There is of course no guarantee that it will be accepted. The CEC challenged this listing but their challenge was not upheld by the district council, so you can see it listed here:
Members of the parish council have met twice with the CEC, who have offered to help us work out plans to run the site. The district council has been involved and has been most helpful. CEC has made it clear that any bid we make would need to be close to any other bid in order to be accepted. It is certainly true that they are under no obligation to accept our bid and they argue that they are obliged to get the best result for their charity. On the face of it, this seems reasonable though we might hope for some flexibility if it would enable continued use by a significant number of local scouts!
The challenge now is to put together a bid for the asset. The sale particulars suggested a price of £400,000! It seems clear that the parish council will have to work out how to fund and make a bid, and how the site will be run in future. We are investigating grants and are considering taking on a loan to make a bid. We intend to form a charitable trust to run the site and have offers of help from both the local scout groups and the parents. We are encouraged by the goodwill that seems to be around. We have discussed the matter at some length at the parish council meetings in June and July and plan to take final decisions at the end of August.
Peter Brunning

Last updated on 30 July 2013.