Setback for Men’s Shed in bid for ‘dream’ home

Members of the Men Shed are hoping to find a new premise as they have outgrown their portable cabin

Members of the Men Shed are hoping to find a new premise as they have outgrown their portable cabin at the Station. - Credit: Archant

An Ottery cause helping men to learn new skills and socialise is on the search for its ‘dream’ premises.

The town’s Men Shed, which opened in November, has outgrown its portable cabin at The Station.

The shed has 25 members and now operates twice a week, but treasurer Tony Pugh said the tight space and noise may be putting off new members.

The committee is now exploring options to build a larger workshop and has approached the town council about moving next to the petanque and bowling club in Strawberry Lane.

The plans were not supported by Ottery Town Council at its June meeting as it has plans for the sports field, but the shed’s committee is urging members to reconsider.

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Mr Pugh told the Herald the Strawberry Lane site would be the group’s ‘dream site’.

He said: “It would be a fantastic project to build the shed ourselves.

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“We have really got to have a site where there is an existing kitchen and toilets. Sites such the Finnimore are a non-starter - it would be really expensive.

“I consider it [Strawberry Lane] to be a dream site.Whether it is going to happen, we will have to wait and see.”

The land is under a covenant designating the site for sport use only.

Mr Pugh said the group has received an exemption from Nicholas Cave, the former landowner, if it was granted planning permission.

It has also received support from the petanque club and has approached the bowling club for its views.

At a town council meeting on Monday, July 3, the Men’s Shed representatives asked councillors to consider a rescission motion to allow the plans to be tabled on next month’s agenda. They said they were not aware the council was debating its plans at June’s meeting, where members voted not to support the proposals.

If the motion does not receive six signatures from councillors, the plans will not be discussed for another six months.

Mayor Councillor Glyn Dobson said after the meeting: “One reason it was not supported is because it is a sports field and we are waiting for a large amount of section 106 [money] and we have plans to expand it. That is one of the objectives in the Neighbourhood Plan.”

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