Scouts to seek approval for a home of their own

The proposed Scout hut/youth centre and house, for which outline planning approval is to be sought

The proposed Scout hut/youth centre and house, for which outline planning approval is to be sought

First published in News

SCOUTS are to seek planning permission for a home for their growing group.

The 1st Goostrey Scout group does not have a base, and uses two local venues for its 110 members and 20 leaders.

The group is hoping to change this by creating a new Scout hut and youth centre on the site of a former youth centre on Main Road which has been derelict for a number of years.

The land is owned by Goostrey Parish Council, and the Scout group has been working with the council in putting together plans for a Scout HQ and modern youth centre.

Planning permission is due to be sought for a building on half of the site, to be used as Scout hut and youth centre, and the other half for a house.

Money from the sale of that part of the site which it is hoped will receive outline planning approval would be used for community projects.

Group Scout Leader David Giles said the 52 Scouts meet at a hall in Boothbed Lane, but because of the number of youngsters meetings are held over two sittings.

The Cubs and Beavers meet at a local church hall, but are not able to store any of their equipment.

“It has been a very unsatisfactory position for a fast-growing and successful group, and we desperately need a headquarters,” said Mr Giles.

“The proposed Scout hut would be a major step forward for the youth of the village, who have no HQ and are desperate for space.

“The parish council has been looking to provide a youth facility to replace the derelict facility in Main Road, Goostrey.

“It agreed to allow us to apply for planning approval on the site of the old youth centre for a new youth centre and Scout hut and a single dwelling.”

The proposed building would be funded by and managed by the Scouts, and the planning application is due to be submitted by the middle of next month.

Before that the Scout group and the council are to meet to discuss the views of local residents from a public consultation meeting at Goostrey Village Hall on Monday, May 19.

Mr Giles said the Scout group wanted to “engage” the whole village in the project, and would welcome support from anyone able to offer skills or expertise to help deliver the scheme. Mr Giles can be contacted at 1stgoostreyscouts.gsl@gmail.com.

Clr Peter Godfrey, chairman of Goostrey Parish Council, said: “The Scouts have a skilled and enthusiastic team of professionals who can help the dream of a new facility for young people in the village come true.”

He said the council set up a youth facility working party of parish councillors 18 months ago, and at its April meeting the council agreed the working party should investigate three options for providing a new youth facility.

“The working party reported back to the May parish council meeting that one of the options – the Scouts’ proposal – appeared to offer the most practical, speedy and affordable route to providing the village with a youth facility,” said Clr Godfrey.

“The parish council agreed to support the Scouts taking the next two steps in assessing the viability of this option; to submit a planning application in the parish council’s name and to hold a public meeting jointly with the parish council, to find out what residents think of the proposal.”

He said the village’s youth centre became “uninhabitable” well over five years ago, and even before it fell into disuse people were trying to come up with a way of replacing it with a new youth facility somewhere in the village.

“Despite the hard work of these people the village has remained without a dedicated youth facility, leaving the various village youth groups to meet in a disparate set of often unsuitable community buildings throughout the parish,” he said.

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