A scouting HQ for Sidmouth’s generations to come

Ian Lawes, Brian Mainwaring, Gareth Hughes, Fluff Preston and Louis Hill are pictured in front of th

Ian Lawes, Brian Mainwaring, Gareth Hughes, Fluff Preston and Louis Hill are pictured in front of the new Sidmouth Scout HQ which is currently under construction. Ref shs 6213-46-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

The 1st Sid Vale Scouts are forging ahead with their new HQ after a seven-week wait to modify its planning permission – and their long-awaited base could be ready by Easter.

Volunteers are leading the effort to benefit youngsters for generations to come, managing contractors who have erected the timber frame and recently put on the roof.

The scouts outgrew their Manor Road hut long ago. With the auction of the premises and two other assets for a ‘gob-smacking’ £270,000 in June, leaders could finally press on with the build. The fundraising project also benefited from a Sidmouth Herald campaign.

“The more I come up here, the more excited I get,” said group chairman Gareth Hughes. “The scouts will be counting the days until they can get in. We can’t call it a hut – it’s too big. It’s our HQ and it’s for scouting for generations to come.”

Brian Manwaring and Ian Lawes both have backgrounds in construction and are joined by a team of volunteers in managing the project.

Doing some of the work themselves will save an estimated £30,000. They bring in local contractors where possible when they need to.

Brian said: “The kids are all really excited about it, but it’s been a bit dangerous until now. They could come up and see it now.”

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Development stalled over the autumn as the group had to make a minor change to its planning permission - although this has now been approved.

It also got the go-ahead to install solar panels and roller shutters for security – investments made possible by the windfall from the auction.

The finished building will boast a climbing wall, plenty of storage, accessible toilets, a kitchen and an enormous hall. It will benefit youngsters from around the area, as well as Salcombe Regis residents.

Gareth thanked the Herald for its campaign to raise the scouts’ profile, and all the residents who contributed.

He also paid tribute to the Lions Club of Sidmouth for sponsoring the installation of the roller shutters, All Timber Frames and Sidmouth Scaffolding for giving good deals.

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