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Thread: Scout hut petition "Save our scout hut"

  1. #31
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    Yeah.

    We don't need some weird, avant garde toilets involving hay bales, saw dust and eco-holes in the ground.

    We just need serviceable bogs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Yeah.

    We don't need some weird, avant garde toilets involving hay bales, saw dust and eco-holes in the ground.

    We just need serviceable bogs.
    Compost tilets do still need you to pee in the woods.


    I think those fancy glass cubicles where you are not sure if they are transparent or opaque are a great idea - you would never have to clean the bogs because no-one would use them
    Ewan Scott

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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Compost tilets do still need you to pee in the woods.


    I think those fancy glass cubicles where you are not sure if they are transparent or opaque are a great idea - you would never have to clean the bogs because no-one would use them
    Hmmm, I think that type of cubicle in a scout hall might attract unwanted attention.

    A while ago while on the Great Glen Way, we stayed at an Eco-campsite by Abriachan. Their toilet facilities were, ummm, interesting. They had a hay bale for peeing on and a composting toilet for everything else. They had - however - in the composting toilet* cubicle installed a large mirror so people could see out of the gap between the walls and the roof. Unfortunately, it meant anyone walking by, could see in. (The partition round the hay bale, which was in the middle of the site, was also notable by it's inability to block anyone's view).

    And just because I remembered, there's a campsite up Glen Nevis - quite a big commercial campsite. The toilet blocks are very well appointed. Lovely modern Vellux windows in the ceiling, in which you could see the reflection of the cubicles on either side of your own.



    * The owners of the campsite used to be roadies. They explained that at festivals, the would get heavy plastic promotional barrels from Coke and Pepsi to use as bins (for litter or filling with ice). But what they used to do was turn them into composting toilets for performers behind the stages. (I assume this was before Port-a-loos were a thing). She proudly told us Elton John and Mick Jagger had used the one on the campsite. (Presumably not at the campsite though).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Yeah.

    We don't need some weird, avant garde toilets involving hay bales, saw dust and eco-holes in the ground.

    We just need serviceable bogs.
    Oh how ironic - i've just literally spent the day speccing and costing a pair of compost toilets for work, to enable us to stop using chemical portaloos!

    Properly built there is no need to go pee in the woods or on a separate hay bale... it just needs a specially designed toilet seat with a built in urine separator, and that can then pipe the liquid into a hay bale (or soakaway if preferred).

    While I agree they might not be needed for most Scout Huts - someone building a hut (or perhaps more likely a campsite) in a very rural location and faced with the option of installing a septic tank may indeed benefit from someone on the exec saying "how about compost loos"!!

    I'd definitely say a good idea is to have people with no real scouting background on the exec - they're often quite good at asking "Why do we do XYZ" because it looks odd to an outsider. 8/10 times there is probably a good explanation or answer, but that still leaves 2/10 times where there may well be a better way that we haven't seen because "weve always done it that way"

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    Agreed.

    Someone said up-thread that any hall needs almost to be ran as a business. While I don't think that's 100% true, I do think it's at least 50% true. We do a lot of hall hires now, it's a good income stream, but it does mean that if we need to use the hall on any given night - we can't. However, the repeat hires are good to have, so it's a compromise worth making.

    And yup. 100% composting toilets for a campsite, it's all part of the experience. I'd even go as far as having a wee pot of Elsan blue somewhere, just for the nostalgia... That smell... Reminds me of my youth.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Agreed.

    Someone said up-thread that any hall needs almost to be ran as a business. While I don't think that's 100% true, I do think it's at least 50% true. We do a lot of hall hires now, it's a good income stream, but it does mean that if we need to use the hall on any given night - we can't. However, the repeat hires are good to have, so it's a compromise worth making.

    And yup. 100% composting toilets for a campsite, it's all part of the experience. I'd even go as far as having a wee pot of Elsan blue somewhere, just for the nostalgia... That smell... Reminds me of my youth.

    Can't beat a good bottle of blue! They should make it into an air freshener

  9. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Oh how ironic - i've just literally spent the day speccing and costing a pair of compost toilets for work, to enable us to stop using chemical portaloos!

    Properly built there is no need to go pee in the woods or on a separate hay bale... it just needs a specially designed toilet seat with a built in urine separator, and that can then pipe the liquid into a hay bale (or soakaway if preferred).

    While I agree they might not be needed for most Scout Huts - someone building a hut (or perhaps more likely a campsite) in a very rural location and faced with the option of installing a septic tank may indeed benefit from someone on the exec saying "how about compost loos"!!

    I'd definitely say a good idea is to have people with no real scouting background on the exec - they're often quite good at asking "Why do we do XYZ" because it looks odd to an outsider. 8/10 times there is probably a good explanation or answer, but that still leaves 2/10 times where there may well be a better way that we haven't seen because "weve always done it that way"
    When we attended the Portuguese equivalent of a district camp (about 1800 cubs/scouts/explorers) their approach to toilets was to bring out a load of timber cubicles (sans roof!) and porcelain loos (sans seats or cisterns!), set them up and pipe them together then get a JCB and dig a bl**dy great deep hole in the sandy soil, stick a plywood cover over it and stick the pipe in. For flushing, drape about 2 miles of plastic water pipe around the site with wash stations opposite the loos, bowls on the ground under the taps to catch the water which you then take to your loo to flush it away. Simples! After the camp just fill in the hole.


    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    The heating system died about 6 years ago and hasn't worked since - that was gas central heating - will probably be replaced with electric heating because once we've put some insulation in, its all that is needed.
    Even with insulation you'll find electric heating still costs a bomb to run, unless you are putting in a heat pump.

    Our building was part built in the mid 1800s, most in 1900-ish and part when we knocked it about in the late 90s when we bought it. To say we did it on a shoestring is an understatement, as we sourced kit and materials from various contracts/demolitions and did most of the building works ourselves under the supervision of a local builder. Lights were scrounged from a local factory, gas heaters from a school contract, fire doors from a refurbishment etc. The more we ripped the old building apart the more we found wrong and had to sort out and what money we had soon went, though we got it to a stage where we were able to occupy most of the building and start using it. Then the hard work started, our GSL put in a ton of grant aid applications to a whole load of organisations, waste tax, town council, etc etc. Over the past 20 years we got the funds to replace the windows, put in decent heating fit out the kitchen (sponsored by a local firm), do all the flooring, insulate the main roof, and finally replace the crinkly asbestos roof on part of the building.
    It can be done. Just takes a load of work getting all the applications out.
    Andy
    SL 1st Wellington
    www.wellingtonscouts.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkgap View Post
    Even with insulation you'll find electric heating still costs a bomb to run, unless you are putting in a heat pump.
    I must admit i can't understand the logic of ripping out a pre-existing central heating system (which could presumably be made serviceable by the installation of a new boiler unless the pipes and rads have rusted away). Whilst a boiler is fairly expensive as an investment, the running costs are relatively low. And i'm sure in most scout groups there'll be a parent who is gas safe qualified who might be persuaded to install it and do the annual safety checks on the cheap!

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  12. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Whilst a boiler is fairly expensive as an investment, the running costs are relatively low.
    . . . all it costs is the planet.

    Now, we all have to start from where we are, but it seems to me that a Scout Hut is pretty well suited to a passive carbon-zero heating solution. We have electric heating. When we arrive in the evening in the winter it usually gets switched on - but when 30+ Cubs start running around it gets switched off because it gets too hot. Even with the heating off it gets too hot and Cub sweatshirts are shed like autumn leaves. The heaters probably get used during daytime hires but if we had the money to invest I think I'd prefer improvements to insulation and south-facing windows rather than fossil-fuel burners.
    John Russell
    ex-CSL now ACSL 1st Pinhoe Exeter Devon
    Cubs don't care how much you know, but they need to know how much you care.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    . . . all it costs is the planet.

    Now, we all have to start from where we are, but it seems to me that a Scout Hut is pretty well suited to a passive carbon-zero heating solution. We have electric heating. When we arrive in the evening in the winter it usually gets switched on - but when 30+ Cubs start running around it gets switched off because it gets too hot. Even with the heating off it gets too hot and Cub sweatshirts are shed like autumn leaves. The heaters probably get used during daytime hires but if we had the money to invest I think I'd prefer improvements to insulation and south-facing windows rather than fossil-fuel burners.
    The ideal of course, if building a HQ from scratch, would be a ground source heat pump, powering underfloor heating. But if a group has limited funds I'm afraid i'm a bit of a dinosaur and i'd rather see those funds being used in a cost effective way to benefit Scouting. The relative impact of taking one gas boiler out of use when its only used an hour or so a day is not necessarily a good use of limited scout group funds.

    If money was no object my ideal Scout HQ would be a custom build, with a main hall, kitchen and meeting room designed to be rented out when not in use, a smaller hall that could be kept separate, and used for drying tents, departing for camp, etc regardless of who was in the main hall, an office, a store room with plenty of space, heavy duty racking, and a roller shutter door to a loading bay, and toilet/shower facilities. Possibly a bunk room or two. The roof would be covered in solar panels, there would be battery storage for power produced during the day, and heating would be underfloor via ground-source. The HQ would be built of brick - without any flammable cladding! The problem is HQs like this cost a lot of money, and i can only think of a couple of groups who have even got close to that.

    Most of us either rent space in a community centre or have to make do with precast concrete, nissan huts, mobile classroom style buildings, or aging purpose built structures which predate modern insulation and heating technology. And where groups do have new HQs they are often a compromise based on available funding, or the whim of the council's planning committee!

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    If money was no object my ideal Scout HQ would be a custom build, with a main hall, kitchen and meeting room designed to be rented out when not in use, a smaller hall that could be kept separate, and used for drying tents, departing for camp, etc regardless of who was in the main hall, an office, a store room with plenty of space, heavy duty racking, and a roller shutter door to a loading bay, and toilet/shower facilities. Possibly a bunk room or two. The roof would be covered in solar panels, there would be battery storage for power produced during the day, and heating would be underfloor via ground-source. The HQ would be built of brick - without any flammable cladding! The problem is HQs like this cost a lot of money, and i can only think of a couple of groups who have even got close to that.
    in addition the smaller hall would have some industrial strength dehumidifiers, and some sort of hanging mechanism to easily string up many tents from the ceiling, and not be so small that you couldn't hang a canvas patrol tent or mess tent vertically from one edge. A vast drying room basically, that doubles as a hall.

    Garage and workshop to park the minibuses and vans, and enable woodwork/metalwork projects.

    Oh, and it would have a nice big car park, easy access, and be set in a nice big field, let's say 5 acres, an allotment and polytunnel, with 10 acres of mixed woodland, some hazel, ash, and sweet chestnut for coppicing, lots of bits with trees perfect size and spacing for hammocking, maybe a glade or two for patrol camps, oh, and a grade 0 river or pond/lake (nice to swim in one, not a fetid green bomb-hole), and a stream to play in.

    Well you did say money was no object.

    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Most of us either rent space in a community centre or have to make do with precast concrete, nissan huts, mobile classroom style buildings, or aging purpose built structures which predate modern insulation and heating technology. And where groups do have new HQs they are often a compromise based on available funding, or the whim of the council's planning committee!
    Ish, I think we've got
    2 groups with brick buildings on land they own.
    2 groups with wooden buildings on land they own.
    1 group with a wooden building on land leased from a council.
    3 groups that rent village halls/youth centres.
    Last edited by ianw; 16-01-2020 at 10:24 AM.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    The ideal of course, if building a HQ from scratch, would be a ground source heat pump, powering underfloor heating. But if a group has limited funds I'm afraid i'm a bit of a dinosaur and i'd rather see those funds being used in a cost effective way to benefit Scouting. The relative impact of taking one gas boiler out of use when its only used an hour or so a day is not necessarily a good use of limited scout group funds.

    If money was no object my ideal Scout HQ would be a custom build, with a main hall, kitchen and meeting room designed to be rented out when not in use, a smaller hall that could be kept separate, and used for drying tents, departing for camp, etc regardless of who was in the main hall, an office, a store room with plenty of space, heavy duty racking, and a roller shutter door to a loading bay, and toilet/shower facilities. Possibly a bunk room or two. The roof would be covered in solar panels, there would be battery storage for power produced during the day, and heating would be underfloor via ground-source. The HQ would be built of brick - without any flammable cladding! The problem is HQs like this cost a lot of money, and i can only think of a couple of groups who have even got close to that.

    Most of us either rent space in a community centre or have to make do with precast concrete, nissan huts, mobile classroom style buildings, or aging purpose built structures which predate modern insulation and heating technology. And where groups do have new HQs they are often a compromise based on available funding, or the whim of the council's planning committee!


    We had plans drawn up for something very similar to that. But 15 years ago the cost was almost 250,000, maybe more. So, with overspend and complete kitting out, temporary accommodation etc., it would probably have been closer to 400,000. We went for a refurb/extension programme that perhaps cost 50,000
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

  17. #43
    Yes, I've got the T-shirt Sparkgap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    . . . all it costs is the planet.

    Now, we all have to start from where we are, but it seems to me that a Scout Hut is pretty well suited to a passive carbon-zero heating solution. We have electric heating. When we arrive in the evening in the winter it usually gets switched on - but when 30+ Cubs start running around it gets switched off because it gets too hot. Even with the heating off it gets too hot and Cub sweatshirts are shed like autumn leaves. The heaters probably get used during daytime hires but if we had the money to invest I think I'd prefer improvements to insulation and south-facing windows rather than fossil-fuel burners.
    Unfortunately there is a large gap between what is desirable and what is (realistically) achievable. These days funding for such things is becoming harder to get and every grant source is being inundated with tons of equally worthy applications.
    I agree about putting in more insulation: we converted the roofspace above the main hall into a shooting range with 4" of celotex insulation in the roof and another 4" in the ceiling of the main hall which made a load of difference (as it also sealed up a load of the draughty gaps in the eaves). There are loads of ways that running costs can be reduced without needing a lottery win and which can be done on a DIY basis by parents and leaders.

    Anyway, getting back to the subject: a group whose HQ we have used a few times near Slough lost their HQ when the council decided it would be better knocked down and sold off for development (I always remember the hassles with the drains!!!). They have now managed to purchase some land and are looking to build a new HQ, though I expect the building that goes up will be what they can afford not what they would like to have.
    Andy
    SL 1st Wellington
    www.wellingtonscouts.org

  18. #44
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    When you think about it for a moment, spending on youth provision has taken a total pounding over the past twenty or thirty years. I mean, it was never great, but I remember when Education and Community Services (for example) was an actual thing that did good work.

    Even then however, Scouts was seen as wealthy, catering as it did (or seemed to), to the middle classes. I can't deny we operate in a well to do area, but it's all relative. We'd really struggle to replace our hall. For LA's to blithely knock them down without offering any replacement options - given the work Scouts does in the community (and the kids we get it in are not special, they're not twee parodies as seen on TV), you'd think we'd get a bit more consideration.

    You'd think.

    (I'd have a helipad on our new HQ. I wouldn't bother with a helicopter - having the helipad would mean people thought we had one, and that would be enough. )

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    (I'd have a helipad on our new HQ. I wouldn't bother with a helicopter - having the helipad would mean people thought we had one, and that would be enough. )
    That reminds me of the scout leaders that had a massive lottery win, 18 months later summer camp was something like two weeks in Canada, they chartered a plane to get there and back, and got them to take out half the seats at the back, so the kids could play games and have a kickabout at 30,000 feet. 500,000!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/4732285.stm

    Oh, bitter sweet, the google searches say the guy died suddenly five years later, had done another trip to Austria, and helping buy Torquay football club and some local woodland. But it's a Daily Wail story so I won't link to it.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
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