Scouts will lose hall to make way for homes

Claire Davis,  Cub Scout Leader, Gavin Strachan, Scout Leader, Eric Stokes, Group Secretary, Peter Cronk, Cub Scout Leader, and Nick Rowden, Cub Scout Leader
Claire Davis, Cub Scout Leader, Gavin Strachan, Scout Leader, Eric Stokes, Group Secretary, Peter Cronk, Cub Scout Leader, and Nick Rowden, Cub Scout Leader

CHILDREN are set to lose their Scout hall over plans to make way for new houses.

The 6th Hastings (Blacklands) Scouts have used the hall in Beverley Walk since 1974 but now face the prospect of having nowhere to meet after the end of this month.

AmicusHorizon wants to knock down the Scout hall in Beverley Walk and build 16 new affordable homes, which would consist of eight two-storey houses and eight flats.

They would be built on land behind 151 to 177 Linley Drive if the proposals are given the go-ahead by the council but have yet to come before the authority’s planning committee.

Claire Davis, one of the group leaders, said: “This area needs the Scouts and it’s not as if there is no call for a youth organisation here.

“Between the Scouts on a Monday, Cubs on Tuesday and Thursday and Beavers on a Friday we take in about 150 children each week.

“We also have the local community in the hall for meetings, regular parties, dance rehearsals and so on.

“There is nothing for children to do on the estate behind the hall and I regularly have children come knocking on the door asking to join the group.

“AmicusHorizon, who are the landlords, have given us notice to leave by the end of July. Lots of people have objected to the plans to build houses as these are going to condense an area that already has a high density of population.

“The bit of grassland the children use will also go.

“We acknowledge the excellent level of co-operation and support that has been, and continues to be, provided by AmicusHorizon but currently there is no viable plan that secures a permanent new home for the Scout group.”

She said there are plans to base the Cubs at Blacklands Church hall and the Scouts using William Parker Sports College’s sports hall but nothing was signed and sealed as yet.

Claire said: “We run and maintain the present hall ourselves and it would cost £12 to use the church hall.

“We want to keep the group as local as possible to the Blacklands area.

“If we started fundraising for a new hall we would be talking three to four years down the line before we had one.”

A spokesman for AmicusHorizon said: “The group currently uses a building on part of the land proposed for our development. Its lease on this building expired in 2003 and since then we’ve continued our good relationship with the group via an informal lease agreement. We’ve also worked closely with chairman Simon Kenwood and Hastings Borough Council since we first considered this site for new homes.

“From the outset, AmicusHorizon has been committed to help the Scouts continue their services to the local community. Along with the council, we offered several potential temporary measures including a generous financial payment offer and some free land for a permanent scout hut. So far the scout group has declined all suggestions for suitable temporary premises.

“AmicusHorizon is not responsible for securing the Scout group’s future premises. However maintaining services to our residents and communities is important to us.”