Scouts smash target for new HQ

The 1st Sidmouth Scouts are celebrating after having sold their hut at auction. At the hut are beave

The 1st Sidmouth Scouts are celebrating after having sold their hut at auction. At the hut are beavers youth leader Emily Craven, Colin Moorhouse of Redferns estate agents and Adam Dunford with his group scout leader, Nancy Craven. Ref shs 9301-25-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Land once deemed worthless went under the hammer to net the 1st Sid Vale Scouts £90,000 – ‘gobsmacking’ their leaders and smashing the target for their new HQ.

Their Manor Road hut also sold for a further £180,000, bringing their three-year appeal to an end and changing their outlook in an instant.

The group leaders can now upgrade their Salcombe Recreational Field plans and spend some on something special for the youngsters.

Group scout leader Nancy Craven said: “It was such an exciting sale – just amazing.

“It’s been a great surprise for us. We didn’t want to do too much forward planning or get the kids’ hopes up. Now we’ve changed from looking backward to looking forwards we can get everybody involved and start scratching our heads.

“We’re all starting to think about doing some of the ambitious things we’ve only dreamt of.”

The extra cash could take them to international jamborees or upgrade the facilities they can offer at the new hut, which was originally planned as ‘pretty bare bones’. But they do not want it to ‘disappear’ into the general funds.

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The scout leaders had been unsure if they should sell two pieces of the Jurassic Coast that were left to them in a will. They had gone unused for years so they decided to consolidate their assets and put them up for auction.

They were predicted to go for between £5,000 and £10,000 but sold for £42,500 and £45,500 apiece – after an earlier estimate said they were worthless.

“The land sold first, and it just went through the roof,” Nancy said. “We had no idea it was going to go so well.

“The first plot started slowly, then started going up £500 at a time. Somebody’s bought a little piece of heaven.”

Auctioneer Graham Barton, who is also an expert on Homes under the Hammer, described the sale of slices of the Jurassic Coast as ‘virtually unheard of’ and said the outcome was ‘as spectacular as the location’.

The scouts’ 100-year-old Manor Road property was recently confirmed to have been the work of renowned architect RW Sampson.

The property came with planning permission for it to be converted into a home and was expected to fetch £125,000 to £150,000.

It sold for £180,000, apparently disappointing several bidders from Sidmouth who missed out.

The new HQ could be up by Christmas.

Nancy thanked Colin Moorhouse from local firm Redferns and auctioneer Graham for their excitement about the properties and giving their time so generously.

She paid homage to scout chairman Gareth Hughes, saying that his dedication means he should be carried through the town.

And she thanked all of their loyal supporters for lending their backing for so long.

The scout group is inviting anyone with memories or records of the old scout hut to join them at the venue next Friday (June 26) from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. For more information, call Gareth on 01395 515552.

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