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Thread: Scout hut petition "Save our scout hut"

  1. #1
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    Scout hut petition "Save our scout hut"

    This popped up on my news feed
    http://chng.it/

    [quote]SOS SAVE OUR SCOUT HUT AND SCOUT GROUP


    Our current lease on the land expired in Sept 2016, since then we have been trying to get a new lease, but Colney Heath Parish Council have kept delaying a new lease and keep changing the goal posts on why they cannot issue another lease to us.

    We always paid our rent and covered the building insurance, upkeep and ongoing maintenance of the hut within the fenced area. The hut has never cost the Council anything. Many years ago we even paid half towards the cost of installing lighting in the Car Park. The car Park is not part of our lease, but we willingly contributed because it would benefit the Group in terms of safetyOur current lease on the land expired in Sept 2016, since then we have been trying to get a new lease, but Colney Heath Parish Council have kept delaying a new lease and keep changing the goal posts on why they cannot issue another lease to us.

    We always paid our rent and covered the building insurance, upkeep and ongoing maintenance of the hut within the fenced area. The hut has never cost the Council anything. Many years ago we even paid half towards the cost of installing lighting in the Car Park. The car Park is not part of our lease, but we willingly contributed because it would benefit the Group in terms of safety[\quote]

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    All very well, but look into the story a little deeper and there is more to it.

    Seems like the building is deemed unsafe by the council. They are happy to renew the lease if the building is made safe and brought up to date.
    Ewan Scott

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    Been all over 1stFB, where tbh is more likely to teach a large number of signatories is feasible. However the view there has been sceptical on similar ground to Ewan

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Been all over 1stFB, where tbh is more likely to teach a large number of signatories is feasible. However the view there has been sceptical on similar ground to Ewan

    Without singling out the group concerned.

    Many Groups ignore long term maintenance until they become a crisis. It would not be the first Scout property lost due to the lack of upkeep.

    Districts could do a great deal more to ensure that Groups make sure their buildings are maintained.

    I inherited a 1940's Utility building, the type used in military camps throughout WW2. (Sorry if you have heard this before.) It was installed at one site in the 1950s and relocated, to our site in the 1970s. By my time it had been used as a Scout hut for 50 plus years, and maybe prior to that in the 40s. It had cast iron window frames, and single glazing, with an asbestos sheet roof, toilets were cramped and difficult to clean, with no heating at all frozen pipes were a regular thing.

    The original floor had been covered with chipboard sheets - not flooring, and it got damp and "chunked out" in places. The kitchen was really not suitable if we were catering for more than a couple of patrols.

    The cladding was dried out and warmed, a little rotten in places, and squirrels had burrowed through it and into the insulation. In one place they had actually eaten through the plasterboard.

    We planned refurbishment in stages, and we raised funds by putting a voluntary surcharge on subs - no-one objected.

    We asked joiners for quotes for the work and they all took that deep intake and aid it couldn't be done. The frame would be rotten. We bought the cladding, we bought the double glazed windows and, as a team we stripped the old cladding and replaced it with new, and fitted new double-glazed windows. The frame was actually nowhere near as bad as we had been told. One small splice and a plastic treatment of one upright and all was good.

    We put a new floor in, and a new kitchen.

    There was an ongoing plan for improvements. We did so much that when we asked the council for support there was no question and they funded a new toilet, stores, and roof with a 20,000 grant.

    Had we NOT done any of the work, the building would have needed replacement and the quotes for that ran to around 220,000. Better spend a little and save a lot in the long run.
    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



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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    I don't know how many people remember WalsallWizard on this forum and his wife YorkieLass, but about 10 years ago I went along to visit them at their group (same district) in 2009 when they were celebrating 90 years. They had very recently gone into this group, put in by the DC to turn the group around. Numbers were low and the HQ had been neglected for what seemed like a number of years. I remember one of their leaders swinging from one of the beams and it wobbling - they were at the stage where they needed a new roof, new windows, new floor, new kitchen, new toilets, insulation, etc. - the group is still fundraising for that new roof. It's a very old wooden building and I suspect has asbestos in the roof which will be why they are still fundraising. It didn't help that when they first went in the groups finances were in a bad way, with only single figures in two sections.

    They are in effect still recovering as a group over 10 years later after a period in which the building was neglected and membership dwindled.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    I don't know how many people remember WalsallWizard on this forum and his wife YorkieLass, but about 10 years ago I went along to visit them at their group (same district) in 2009 when they were celebrating 90 years. They had very recently gone into this group, put in by the DC to turn the group around. Numbers were low and the HQ had been neglected for what seemed like a number of years. I remember one of their leaders swinging from one of the beams and it wobbling - they were at the stage where they needed a new roof, new windows, new floor, new kitchen, new toilets, insulation, etc. - the group is still fundraising for that new roof. It's a very old wooden building and I suspect has asbestos in the roof which will be why they are still fundraising. It didn't help that when they first went in the groups finances were in a bad way, with only single figures in two sections.

    They are in effect still recovering as a group over 10 years later after a period in which the building was neglected and membership dwindled.
    Ignoring the groups who meet in rented halls without the responsibility - i can think of almost as many groups with dilapidated halls falling down around them as groups with decent HQs.

    Dont' get me wrong - i think groups having their own halls is an excellent thing - i've been involved in groups with their own hall and groups without - but at the same time those halls need to be run almost on a commercial basis. With the way TSA works, I often think the best bet would be to set the "hall" up as a separate charity thus ensuring it doesnt become a drain on group funds. When not in use for Scouting purposes (which with usually be daytimes, plus potentially a few evenings) those halls need to be earning money. Only very large groups, or groups with a very supportive parent base, can really afford to keep halls just for Scouting these days.

    1940s Nissan Huts were in surplus in the 1950s. After the war it was easy for Scout groups to get hold of them, and by their nature they were easy for a group of volunteers to unload from the back of a lorry and put up (meaning many of the ones in use for Scouting werent even put up that well!) They were probably still fit for purpose in the 60s, maybe the 70s. They were never designed to still be in use 80 years later. I have been into Nissan Hut Scout HQs that are only fit for demolition, and really are in no way safe to use.

    The problem today is that they're also hard to replace. Groups picked up Nissan Huts in the 50s for little to nothing, and had no real difficulty getting planning permission to put them up. These days everything has to be DDA compliant, building regs compliant, and get through a tough planning process. I've often thought that the ideal scout HQ would be in an industrial unit on an industrial estate. The sort that have an office (often 2 stories) across the front, with a warehouse door into a big metal roofed warehouse. The kind of unit that Screwfix tend to occupy. Usually such areas are busy in the day but quiet at night so plenty of parking available when a scout group would need it. It would be easy to put a kit store in behind the roller shutter door, use most of the warehouse as a hall, and the offices for kitchen, meeting rooms, etc.

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    No doubt, constant upkeep is required for halls. We have our own and have over the past few years replaced windows and doors. New roller door on our garage. New floor went in about ten years ago - just the covering. It's a concrete floor, cool in the summer totally freezing in the winter.

    We now need to do the toilets - they are, if I may deploy a colloquialism - mingin'. Old hardware, taps that don't shut off and damp in places. We're having the usual long-winded discussion about what exactly to do. Eventually, someone will get a bee in their bonnet about it and it'll get done.

    We also need a new heating paradigm. The current infrared space heaters are rubbish. Our hall is empty during the day but busy in the evenings. It was only in the past ten years that we stopped turning the power off at the main circuit box. We (me actually) decided that we needed to stop treating it like a hut (it's a substantial brick building) and start treating it like a hall. The power is on all the time, we have a fridge (never used to have one). But, we would like to do more upgrades.


    Edit. There's a group in Fife that has what looks like an industrial unit for a hall, it looks the business. It wouldn't suit where we are (it's a small village with no industrial units. But, having that sort of premises would be really cool. Big roller doors, loads of space. That would be cool. We're probably spoiled as we are, with a hall, garage, large shed and our own (sort of) yard area with woods off to one side. Yup, we're really lucky. /edit
    Last edited by pa_broon74; 11-01-2020 at 10:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    No doubt, constant upkeep is required for halls. We have our own and have over the past few years replaced windows and doors. New roller door on our garage. New floor went in about ten years ago - just the covering. It's a concrete floor, cool in the summer totally freezing in the winter.

    We now need to do the toilets - they are, if I may deploy a colloquialism - mingin'. Old hardware, taps that don't shut off and damp in places. We're having the usual long-winded discussion about what exactly to do. Eventually, someone will get a bee in their bonnet about it and it'll get done.

    We also need a new heating paradigm. The current infrared space heaters are rubbish. Our hall is empty during the day but busy in the evenings. It was only in the past ten years that we stopped turning the power off at the main circuit box. We (me actually) decided that we needed to stop treating it like a hut (it's a substantial brick building) and start treating it like a hall. The power is on all the time, we have a fridge (never used to have one). But, we would like to do more upgrades.


    Edit. There's a group in Fife that has what looks like an industrial unit for a hall, it looks the business. It wouldn't suit where we are (it's a small village with no industrial units. But, having that sort of premises would be really cool. Big roller doors, loads of space. That would be cool. We're probably spoiled as we are, with a hall, garage, large shed and our own (sort of) yard area with woods off to one side. Yup, we're really lucky. /edit
    Turning the power off at the circuit breaker? Wow! I can only imagine how much chaos it would have caused if we did that at my old group. It would no doubt have upset the fire and burglar alarm systems and CCTV for a start... not to mention the central heating system timer, the wifi, the emergency lighting, etc.

    In terms of toilets - i'd say the solution these days, if possible, is to rip the whole sorry lot out and build in individual unisex toilet cubicles and do away with urinals, and separate male/female facilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Turning the power off at the circuit breaker? Wow! I can only imagine how much chaos it would have caused if we did that at my old group. It would no doubt have upset the fire and burglar alarm systems and CCTV for a start... not to mention the central heating system timer, the wifi, the emergency lighting, etc.

    In terms of toilets - i'd say the solution these days, if possible, is to rip the whole sorry lot out and build in individual unisex toilet cubicles and do away with urinals, and separate male/female facilities.
    Aye.

    We don't have any of that type of stuff, even now, it's all quite basic - we don't even have smoke alarms, which is probably all sorts of wrong. We'll probably get wifi - eventually. I fitted a lot of audio visual equipment (digital projectors etc), all of that needs updated too now. It would probably be worth doing all of that so it all works together. It would also make the hall more saleable for hires.

    We had settled on cubicles and doing away with urinals and separate facilities. The toilets are side by side and are quite spacious, we thought about putting in a couple of shower cubicles too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    I've often thought that the ideal scout HQ would be in an industrial unit on an industrial estate. The sort that have an office (often 2 stories) across the front, with a warehouse door into a big metal roofed warehouse. The kind of unit that Screwfix tend to occupy. Usually such areas are busy in the day but quiet at night so plenty of parking available when a scout group would need it. It would be easy to put a kit store in behind the roller shutter door, use most of the warehouse as a hall, and the offices for kitchen, meeting rooms, etc.
    MK District looked at founding a supergroup in one such unit as our waiting list is roughly equal to the membership and the main constraint is premises. The trouble was that there was a need to commit to rent for a long period at quite a high rate, and the only way to do that was to put our District campsite on the line, so there was no way to do it. They investigated running a Group as a limited company but that didn't sit well with Gilwell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    I don't know how many people remember WalsallWizard on this forum and his wife YorkieLass, but about 10 years ago I went along to visit them at their group (same district) in 2009 when they were celebrating 90 years. They had very recently gone into this group, put in by the DC to turn the group around. Numbers were low and the HQ had been neglected for what seemed like a number of years. I remember one of their leaders swinging from one of the beams and it wobbling - they were at the stage where they needed a new roof, new windows, new floor, new kitchen, new toilets, insulation, etc. - the group is still fundraising for that new roof. It's a very old wooden building and I suspect has asbestos in the roof which will be why they are still fundraising. It didn't help that when they first went in the groups finances were in a bad way, with only single figures in two sections.

    They are in effect still recovering as a group over 10 years later after a period in which the building was neglected and membership dwindled.
    Keith,

    I remember Walsall Wizard very well. If you come across him please pass on my regards.

    RE: Asbestos

    We had an asbestos roof. When we had the roof replaced there was no massive penalty for removing the Asbestos. The roofers soaked it and removed it panel by panel at no extra charge. We spoke to Biffa, who provided us with an Asbestos specific container for 500 and we loaded the asbestos, shut the door and they took it away. A normal Skip around here is over 100.

    If the roof is asbestos sheeting, it does not have to be expensive to remove. I think the roofing element of out rebuild was around 3,500 - in preformed tin panels. Hotter than Hell in the attic in the summer though.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Keith,

    I remember Walsall Wizard very well. If you come across him please pass on my regards.

    RE: Asbestos

    We had an asbestos roof. When we had the roof replaced there was no massive penalty for removing the Asbestos. The roofers soaked it and removed it panel by panel at no extra charge. We spoke to Biffa, who provided us with an Asbestos specific container for 500 and we loaded the asbestos, shut the door and they took it away. A normal Skip around here is over 100.

    If the roof is asbestos sheeting, it does not have to be expensive to remove. I think the roofing element of out rebuild was around 3,500 - in preformed tin panels. Hotter than Hell in the attic in the summer though.
    NHS (Scotland and more generally) probably do the best practice thing. But we sat and watched a professional asbestos removal company build an entire temporary structure (scaffold and heavy poly) around a 40 metre trench because the pipes there-in were asbestos clad. They even had some sort of ventilation machinery to make sure nothing escaped through any gaps.

    Not sure if anything has changed re. rules since you did it. (A guy in the village found a load of it buried in the garden of the house he bought - it cost him 6k to get it removed and disposed of. Maybe they're outliers though.

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    NHS (Scotland and more generally) probably do the best practice thing. But we sat and watched a professional asbestos removal company build an entire temporary structure (scaffold and heavy poly) around a 40 metre trench because the pipes there-in were asbestos clad. They even had some sort of ventilation machinery to make sure nothing escaped through any gaps.

    Not sure if anything has changed re. rules since you did it. (A guy in the village found a load of it buried in the garden of the house he bought - it cost him 6k to get it removed and disposed of. Maybe they're outliers though.
    It depends on the type of asbestos, solid asbestos like used in fibreboard roofing is a lower grade risk compared to fiberous asbestos such as insulation which can break down into asbestos dust which is highly dangerous

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    It depends on the type of asbestos, solid asbestos like used in fibreboard roofing is a lower grade risk compared to fiberous asbestos such as insulation which can break down into asbestos dust which is highly dangerous
    Interesting. I have no idea what kind it was, they were being cautious anyway.

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Keith, I remember Walsall Wizard very well. If you come across him please pass on my regards. RE: Asbestos We had an asbestos roof. When we had the roof replaced there was no massive penalty for removing the Asbestos. The roofers soaked it and removed it panel by panel at no extra charge. We spoke to Biffa, who provided us with an Asbestos specific container for 500 and we loaded the asbestos, shut the door and they took it away. A normal Skip around here is over 100. If the roof is asbestos sheeting, it does not have to be expensive to remove. I think the roofing element of out rebuild was around 3,500 - in preformed tin panels. Hotter than Hell in the attic in the summer though.
    Will do. Neither he or his wife are Scouting these days - they loved it but found that it was taking over their lives (running a Sea Scout group with it's own HQ and boats, etc.). I don't know much about the level of asbestos, but it is a classic 1940s era wooden hut, I suspect it might have been acquired from the RAF after the war by a former pilot called Graham Mellanby so i'd guess it's construction is similar to yours.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
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    WE NEED MORE ADULT VOLUNTEERS!
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