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Thread: Broadstone Warren

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    Broadstone Warren

    Handed back to HQ by the county that runs it.

    https://www.facebook.com/34156268254...184723072/?d=n

    Biggest Scout site in the country I think.

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    Senior Member BenOfThe12th's Avatar
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    Is this the beginning of the end of the Scout Activity centres...
    Well it's been fun...

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    I wonder how many other Scout sites have similar TSA leases with Handback clauses?
    Is it on the TSA Risk Register?
    A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room. Baden-Powell

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnL View Post
    I wonder how many other Scout sites have similar TSA leases with Handback clauses?
    Is it on the TSA Risk Register?
    I suspect quite a few after all the moves done a few years back.

    Years ago TSA handed Youlbury to our County to run then a few years back to TSA partially due to costs needed for renovations. The headache for TSA is that Youlbury has a covenant on it that if it isn't used for Scouts/Guides it reverts back to the original land owners family so TSA can't sell it to make money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenOfThe12th View Post
    Is this the beginning of the end of the Scout Activity centres...
    Is it the beginning of the end for Gilwell? They were I believe hoping to get Counties to lease sites to get some of their money!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dralphs View Post
    I suspect quite a few after all the moves done a few years back.

    Years ago TSA handed Youlbury to our County to run then a few years back to TSA partially due to costs needed for renovations. The headache for TSA is that Youlbury has a covenant on it that if it isn't used for Scouts/Guides it reverts back to the original land owners family so TSA can't sell it to make money.
    from memory there were similar issues with quite a few of the 15ish sites that HQ owned and leased out that were reviewed in 2004ish, and in at least one instance the land was not even owned by the TSA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Rover View Post
    from memory there were similar issues with quite a few of the 15ish sites that HQ owned and leased out that were reviewed in 2004ish, and in at least one instance the land was not even owned by the TSA.
    A historic issue with many such places (scout campsites, sports clubs, etc) is that often land has been "given" by well meaning landowners, quite often with relatively little thought for what might happen in the future.

    There is an archery club that has been using a field for about 40 years. The field belonged to a local farmer who over time handed the field over to the club... but at no point was it ever changed with the land registry. There was an agreement signed, and the club are now having to try to use this agreement to stop the farmer's son, who has now inherited the family farm, demanding they pay a hefty monthly rent to continue using the site. Matters are further complicated by the fact that the club has changed name, and the chairman who signed the agreement on behalf of the club is long dead.

    I imagine this sort of thing has happened a LOT with Scouts... plenty of campsites began as "Lord So-and-so" letting the local Scouts camp on the lower ten acre in return for helping with the harvest at home farm once a year and suchlike. Unless somewhre along the line the trustees have made sure to formalise whatever arrangements are in place, there's a real risk of losing the arrangement if things go wrong.

    Even where things have been formalised there may well have been covenants put in place. And who can blame them. If i was a wealthy landowner letting Scouts have an area of land i'd want to make sure that a future Commissioner wasn't tempted to sell the land for housing. Unfortunately sometimes these convenants can have unintended consequences... such as one scout hut which has a covenant on the land preventing external lettings.... which in turn has had the effect of stopping the hall being used by the local guides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    Even where things have been formalised there may well have been covenants put in place. And who can blame them. If i was a wealthy landowner letting Scouts have an area of land i'd want to make sure that a future Commissioner wasn't tempted to sell the land for housing.
    I'm actually not sure what I would do. Sometimes selling a site off is what makes sense. For instance if a hypothetical District had a ramshackle District HQ that was riddled with asbestos and falling down, and a "field with a tap" type campsite that nobody really used, situated on the edge of a large housing estate with high demand and high house prices, it would probably make sense for them to sell the "field with a tap" and use the money to build a decent brick District HQ on that site.

    Broadstone Warren is a funny one with regard to flogging it off, though - yes, it's in expensive leafy Sussex, but there's plenty of farmland around there if you want to put houses up, so I don't think it would be especially valuable. Gilwell, on the other hand...

    It might go out of Scout ownership, but I'd be fairly surprised if it didn't stay as an activity centre of some kind.

    The one I really worry about is Great Tower, which is a beautiful site in a near-perfect location but hard to make pay - but would make an easy, ready made commercial chalet site.
    Last edited by Neil Williams; 24-10-2020 at 02:12 PM.

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    Fully agree

    One of my former districts used to own a substantial property in the middle of the city which was essentially some meeting rooms and they sold it in the 1970s and used the proceeds to substantially improve the district campsite.

    Selling assets is usually controversial but whilst Scouting isn't a business, ultimately the relevant trustees have a duty to ensure that assets are suitably manage and value is derived. if an asset is drawing out value, without benefit it needs to be considered whether the asset should be retained which isn't always a popular view.

    Planning restrictions may also be a protection for some sites, as I suspect some have a specific designation (sui genis) rather than a broad designation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Rover View Post
    Fully agree

    One of my former districts used to own a substantial property in the middle of the city which was essentially some meeting rooms and they sold it in the 1970s and used the proceeds to substantially improve the district campsite.
    BP House is a classic. We barely use it as an Association, we rent most of it out to Meininger for them to make money out of it and have a third rate conference centre and a fairly rubbish mini-museum in the rest of it (if that's even still there, I half recall it might not be). Yet as a large building in the heart of Kensington it is worth absolutely millions. Assuming that isn't covenanted in some way it'll be an easy one to let go in my view.

    Selling assets is usually controversial but whilst Scouting isn't a business, ultimately the relevant trustees have a duty to ensure that assets are suitably manage and value is derived. if an asset is drawing out value, without benefit it needs to be considered whether the asset should be retained which isn't always a popular view.
    I think it's often communicated really badly, as is the way in Scouting. Usually it comes out as the classic "it has been decided that we will sell X Scout Campsite to release funds", and communication ends there. It would work better, as ever, if this sort of thing was more open in stating exactly what the money will be used for and selling why that's a better situation for Scouting in the District/County/whatever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I'm actually not sure what I would do. Sometimes selling a site off is what makes sense. For instance if a hypothetical District had a ramshackle District HQ that was riddled with asbestos and falling down, and a "field with a tap" type campsite that nobody really used, situated on the edge of a large housing estate with high demand and high house prices, it would probably make sense for them to sell the "field with a tap" and use the money to build a decent brick District HQ on that site.
    See I would go the other way, sell the District HQ which will just be a money pit and keep the field with a tap which is actually far more useful for Scouting IMHO. Our District has managed fine without a District HQ in its entire history (as far as I am aware)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    BP House is a classic. We barely use it as an Association, we rent most of it out to Meininger for them to make money out of it and have a third rate conference centre and a fairly rubbish mini-museum in the rest of it (if that's even still there, I half recall it might not be). Yet as a large building in the heart of Kensington it is worth absolutely millions. Assuming that isn't covenanted in some way it'll be an easy one to let go in my view.
    I would agree that BP House is easilly the largest valuable assett that could be sold with the least impact on the provision of Scouting. However according to the lastest annual report TSA made a profit of around 600k form hostels and conferences centres (which is not the national activity centres which have a seperate entry) which I would assume includes income from both BP House and Gilwell Park Conference Centre. They already closed the latter so its a question of whether selling the assett and losing the income from it makes sense or not, to make the decision we would need to know exactly how much income TSA gets from BP House annually (in a normal year obviously)

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    Scout Leader (Bosun) Nick's Avatar
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    Enjoyed a very nice camp with the family at Broadstone Warren a few years ago. Difficult to get the tent pegs in but lovely and tranquil, had it lined up as one for a troop summer camp at some point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I'm actually not sure what I would do. Sometimes selling a site off is what makes sense. For instance if a hypothetical District had a ramshackle District HQ that was riddled with asbestos and falling down, and a "field with a tap" type campsite that nobody really used, situated on the edge of a large housing estate with high demand and high house prices, it would probably make sense for them to sell the "field with a tap" and use the money to build a decent brick District HQ on that site.

    Broadstone Warren is a funny one with regard to flogging it off, though - yes, it's in expensive leafy Sussex, but there's plenty of farmland around there if you want to put houses up, so I don't think it would be especially valuable. Gilwell, on the other hand...

    It might go out of Scout ownership, but I'd be fairly surprised if it didn't stay as an activity centre of some kind.

    The one I really worry about is Great Tower, which is a beautiful site in a near-perfect location but hard to make pay - but would make an easy, ready made commercial chalet site.

    But... if you've provided a nice field at the bottom of your land... you're probably not going to want houses there. As an altruistic supporter of scouting you probably want to hear and see kids enjoying themselves... but not a small village springing up.

    BP house is an odd one. I don't know how much rent TSA get... I'd hope its the going market rate though. If its not then someone has been very negligent at some point in history.

    Any property held by scouting should benefit the kids. Either directly (like a campsite) or indirectly as a cash cow. A sprawling urban District hq full of meeting rooms has to be making a profit. If its not then it should go. If necessary sell the District hq and build a meeting room at the campsite (where there will almost certainly be better parking etc). That can then be used for meetings and for activities for kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Enjoyed a very nice camp with the family at Broadstone Warren a few years ago. Difficult to get the tent pegs in but lovely and tranquil, had it lined up as one for a troop summer camp at some point.
    We have had two summer camps there over the last six years. It feels like all the sites are a mile to the loos, and the distance grows in the morning.

    Last year we failed to check what site we were put in until very late. We had one on a slope. But we improved the site and had a good camp.

    The ants are enormous.


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    Quote Originally Posted by claire.shadbolt View Post
    We have had two summer camps there over the last six years. It feels like all the sites are a mile to the loos, and the distance grows in the morning.

    Last year we failed to check what site we were put in until very late. We had one on a slope. But we improved the site and had a good camp.

    The ants are enormous.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I can remember going there as a Scout so we are talking 40+ years ago, probably nearer to 50. I remember the ground being rock hard, especially when we dug the latrines. For some reason everyone got carried away and the the pit was deeper than I was tall. I think we got to use it on the last day we were there.

    I also recall building a pioneering bridge from huge (well I was quite little) pioneering poles and then dragging them back to the stores - they were so heavy we used block and tackle to shift them back along the path. I think it was also the site where we were plagued by hornets and it became a competition to chop them in half on the chopping block with the axe.

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