Scouts remain defiant over barn move
SCOUT leaders have vowed to remain at their 16th century barn and declared they would not be moved.For almost 60 years, the Scouts have been part of village life in Silver End, near Braintree.
SCOUT leaders have vowed to remain at their 16th century barn and declared they would not be moved.
For almost 60 years, the Scouts have been part of village life in Silver End, near Braintree.
For the last 27, the barn in Boars TyeRoad has stored the equipment that has made their scouting possible.
Now Braintree District Council has given them notice to leave. And unless councillors reverse their decision at a meeting on Tuesday, the Scouts and all their gear must be out by the end of the month .
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But dedicated group leaders feel they have worked too long and too hard, to pay for valuable items such as a marquee, trailer and tents, to lose them now. The alternative, a garage site, would store only a fraction of what they have.
While the council plans to sell the grade II listed building for light trade or industrial use, Scout leaders are determined to remain on site until a suitable substitute is found.
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Group leader, Derek Joyce said: "It's impossible for us to be out by March 30. Everyone is a volunteer and we've nowhere to go. We're going to stay in the barn and we're prepared to go to court.
"We can't throw away £1,000s of equipment. The date gives us only five weeks to clear out. It's totally impossible.
"Our marquee alone would take up the entire garage. We'd have to chuck out everything else."
According to Mr Joyce, it would not be just the scouts who would suffer from the equipment's loss.
"We've done so many things from the barn. Recently the venture Scouts went on a trip to Ukraine to decorate an orphanage. We collected equipment for kids and organised a minibus. We could never do that again without a base."
Les Hopkins, the group's president said: "For years and years we've raised money to buy our equipment. As a sitting tenant, we believe we have rights."
"Our scouting is every day of the week. When you do so much for a village, you want to keep going."
A spokesman for Braintree District Council was adamant that the council had to sell and the group would need to leave the barn.
He said: "The group has had a large old barn for 20 years at a rent of £12 a year, and this cannot be sustainable.
"The building is in need of a serious amount of money being spent on it – this money is not available."
He acknowledged there had been a lack of clarity on the part of the council about their plans to sell.
"The council will attempt to find a solution," he said. "But there's a limit to how far that obligation will go, as the space is only for storage, not meetings.
"Another group has brought in a shipping container for the purpose. That might be a better long-term solution."