Why demolish hut which can be made use of?

REGARDING the planning committee’s decision to demolish a scout ‘hut’, it was built after a couple of years’ difficult money raising by the scouts in 1973/4, and with the assistance of the Hastings Borough Council using government grants.

It was built on land deemed not fit for housing and leased to the scouts for 30 years. It’s a solid brick building which would need between £250,000 and £300,000 to replicate today. When the lease was coming to its end in 2002, the scouts asked to buy the freehold or have a new lease. A sale was agreed with AmicusHorizon, but then the council refused it on the grounds the area was now on an unspecified housing plan.

The scouts continued to pay the ground rent and use the building for the next 10 years, maintaining it and insuring it and running scouting with enthusiastic, trained volunteer leaders for between 120 and 150 youngsters, boys and girls, every week. But where will the scouts get the £300,000 to do the building today? They’ve been through all this once and had the rug pulled out from under them. The scouts have temporarily moved nearly a mile away to the Broomgrove Community Centre, where they can have limited activities for the rent of £80 a week.Why? There is still a lot of land around for house building without knocking down a proved, useful place for the youngsters.

ERIC STOKES

Former chairman of the 6th Hastings Scouts