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Abington Camp Site statement - April 2013

Abington Camp Site. An update from the County Executive Committee. 23 April 2013.

There has been much debate about the decision of the County Executive Committee to sell Abingdon Campsite. To that end we thought it would be helpful to update all interested parties on current progress and provide some more background information.

 

The County Executive Committee met on April 15th 2013 to consider their decision concerning the selling of the campsite at Little Abington, and subsequent developments since the original meeting of February 20th.

This including the following:

  • The original working review panel’s report.
  • The correspondence, including email correspondence that had been received by the County Chairman and County Commissioner indicating opposition to the sale of the campsite in its entirety.
  • The appointment of Januarys as the marketing agent.
  • The content of the various statements put out on behalf of the County Executive Committee.
  • The formation of the Friends of Abington Campsite group and the email correspondence received from the group.
  • Posts on various social media groups and sites.
  • Three local newspaper articles.
  • The timescales set for the selling of the site.

Individually and collectively, members of the County Executive Committee understand the depth of feeling displayed by those that oppose the sale of the site, and in particular with those that it directly affected. However, the Committee considered again the information at its disposal and agreed that the decision taken in February was the right decision. The decision was taken in possession of all the factual, usage and financial information that was presented in the various consultation periods over the last 10 years and the rigorous report provided by the Independent Review Group, which had been established by the County Executive Committee in August 2012.

We have received a number of letters and emails and from the correspondence and the social media postings it appeared that the majority of objections came from some Scout Groups and individuals in Cambridge Scout District. Others had links to the local area, and a significant proportion of the correspondence was from individuals who had no direct Scouting involvement. Every letter or email is read and taken note of. The Committee are not replying to letters individually but to help correspondents understand some further background the Committee would like to make it clear that, when invited to interview to put forward the case for the retention of the site by the Independent Review Group, the Cambridge District Executive withdrew their support for their combined proposal to develop the site and did not attend the review meeting, despite being given the option to prepare a revised standalone proposal.

The County Executive Committee agreed that the appointed sales Agent had been given the correct instructions and that the sale should proceed as soon as possible. To this end, solicitors have now been instructed to provide a legal pack for those interested in the purchase of the site.
Various articles have appeared in various forms of media, both newspapers and radio (since the executive meeting), and these are scheduled as below. In addition, the Committee noted the discussions on social media sites including Facebook and eScouts

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Campsite-enjoyed-for-generations-to-be-sold-20130402104848.htm

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Fight-begins-to-stop-Scout-camp-closure-20130408065411.htm

http://www.haverhillecho.co.uk/community/community-news/group-formed-to-oppose-sale-of-little-abington-scout-campsite-1-4981836

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The members of the County Executive Committee charged by the Committee with the pursuance of the sale have been in regular communication with the legal team and the staff of The Scout Association Trust Corporation, who are the trustees of the site. The Regional Commissioner and other senior volunteers are aware of the County Executive Committee’s decision.

It has been agreed that no individual member of the County Executive Committee will enter into correspondence with groups or individuals about the sale of the site, or the future proposals for Scouting in Cambridgeshire. All correspondence will be acknowledged, and the response to any communication will be from either the County Commissioner or the County Chairman, on behalf of the Committee. In certain instances queries which necessitate the provision of information from Scout HQ may be answered directly by HQ staff.

The County Executive Committee hopes that this update helps keep you informed and we will provide further updates and information as it becomes available.

Liz Craig
County Commissioner