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Abington Camp Site statement - February 2013

The County Executive Committee (CEC) met on 20th February 2013 to take a decision on the future of the County Camp Site at Little Abington, near Cambridge.

As members will know, the future of the camp site has been under discussion for a number of years, and various proposals have, over time, been put forward. None came to fruition. In January 2012 proposals and ideas for the future of the site had been requested of any District, Group or individual member in the County. Four proposals had been received, and in July 2012 the CEC decided that a decision on the camp site’s future must be taken as expeditiously as possible.

It was decided that an independent working group would be established to review the proposals, look at the site’s potential for a variety of uses, and report back to the CEC no later than February 2013. The Working Group, chaired by the Director of Support and Development, included active Scouters, a Chartered Surveyor, and the Chairman of Hertfordshire Scouts (who is also chairman of Hertfordshire Scouts’ campsite management committee).

The Working Group submitted their report to the CEC members well in advance of the meeting, so there was plenty of time for members to read and digest the recommendations of the report before the meeting.

The Working Group did not recommend that the site should continue in use as a County Camp Site. They made two recommendations. The first was a partial sale of the site for residential development, with the training room being retained for Scout Group use, and the remainder of the site let out for equestrian and recreational use. The second recommendation was to sell the site in its entirety, with the already acquired planning permission for residential development, at the best possible price. The funds acquired, less the usual expenses, would be used by County for the development of Scouting in Cambridgeshire. This may include the development of another, more central camp site, if the need for such a camp site is identified.

The CEC debated the report at length and in depth. At the end of the debate a vote was taken, and there was a clear majority for option two. This means that the process of disposing of the Abington County Camp Site will begin as soon as practicable.

To do this properly will take some time. In the meantime, the site will remain open for use and bookings until the end of July 2013. Should a sale go through earlier, appropriate alternative arrangements can be made. The CEC, with assistance from the Regional Development Team, and in consultation with the Abington Jeremiahs Scout Group, will aim to relocate the Group before the sale takes place.

The CEC did not discuss the closure in more detail at its meeting. A small group will take this forward, and regular information bulletins about progress will be circulated via ShoutOut.

John Holme

21st February 2013