Old scout hut to go under the hammer to pay for new HQ

The 1st Sid Vale Scouts are putting their old HQ up for auction

The 1st Sid Vale Scouts are putting their old HQ up for auction - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth’s scouts could be sent well on their way to their £180,000 fundraising target for a new HQ when their old hut goes under the hammer next month.

The 100-year-old Manor Road property is expected to fetch between £125,000 and £150,000 and has already attracted ‘considerable’ interest.

The 1st Sid Vale Scouts are also selling two plots of land – touted as a ‘virtually unheard of’ chance to own a section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site – to fund the construction of their new base at the Salcombe Recreational Field.

If the sales and the construction go as planned, youngsters and leaders could be in the new HQ by Christmas.

Auctioneer Graham Barton, who is also an expert on the BBC’s Homes under the Hammer, said: “If it doesn’t make £125,000, someone will have missed a great opportunity.”

The scout hut has been the group’s home since 1914, and owned by it since 1954, but the group has grown in size and its requirements have changed.

The building has planning permission to be converted into a home and could become an ‘enormous’ two-bedroom property.

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It was recently confirmed as having been designed by renowned architect RW Sampson, and Graham said interest had been divided between builders looking for a profit and people hoping to move in – with one couple talking of keeping it as it is.

The other, seafront sites up for sale are an acre apiece at Littlecombe Shute, near Branscombe.

They were left to the scouts in a bequest in the 1970s, but are no longer used by the group.

The eastern site until recently featured a chalet, but it had fallen into a state of disrepair and was pulled down.

Graham said it was up to the buyer of either plot to determine if a similar property could be built.

“You get little pieces of land but rarely beach,” he added. “To get an isolated stretch of beach on the Jurassic Coast is virtually unheard of.”

The assets are being offered in a joint auction with local firm Redferns.

The scouts have spent £40,000 so far on their new build, which has got as far as the foundations.

Progress has stalled while they have waited for the assets to sell, but fundraising has not.

“The people of Sidmouth have us in their minds all the time,” said group chairman Gareth Hughes. “It would be lovely to say we’ve got enough to finish.

“Every penny from the sale is going to be ring-fenced for the building fund.

“It’s going to be a major chunk.”

Work will start in a matter of weeks if the auction provides the full £180,000.

The new HQ will boast four acres in which the scouts can camp, climb and enjoy all the activities they want to do.

The assets will go up for auction on June 17.