Sidmouth scouts’ new HQ joy

SCORES of Sidmouth scouts, cubs and beavers have been handed just what they wanted for Christmas – the go-ahead for a new headquarters.

Controversial plans for a purpose built base for the 1st Sid Vale Scout Group at Salcombe Regis Recreational Field were approved this week.

Group leaders welcomed the decision and said: “We’re thrilled”.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) officers granted the scheme, for a new scout hut and associated parking, planning permission under delegated powers despite objections.

Brian Manwaring, who retired as a Sid Vale group scout leader of 27 years last week, told the Herald: “It’s fantastic news for the group and absolutely amazing – a wonderful Christmas present for all of us.

“We thought it would be difficult getting planning permission. It’s only now that we really look at the next big step – fundraising to get the thing built.”

Plans revealed the new hut would cut down a waiting list of 50 youngsters.

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It was hoped a base in a more rural setting would mean 40 scouts, 35 cubs and 24 beavers could welcome recruits and enjoy more outdoor activities from a single site.

The groups currently meet at four locations.

“We’re a bit disjointed, and we’ve had to reduce our numbers in the winter,” said Mr Manwaring, who is still a scouts committee member.

“We can really can become one group and increase our numbers.”

More than 76per cent of people who registered their views on plans were opposed to them.

EDDC received four comments of support and 13 objections.

Those included 37 members of the Norman Lockyer Observatory who signed a petition against proposals. They feared external lighting from the hut would “hamper” public viewing from the observatory.

Others had reservations about the building being placed in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.