Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lib Dems Let Down Local Scouts

Grange Park scouts are worried that they will lose their HQ because the Lib Dem local plan doesn't even acknowledge it exists. Policy HE3 in the plan seeks to move the Household Waste Recycling Centre in Shamblehurst Lane to a new, more suitable location and free up the land for housing. So far so good, but there is no mention of the scout building which currently occupies part of the site earmarked for houses. Representatives of the scout group came to Hedge End Town Council this week to seek reassurance.

Lib Dem Cllr Paul Carnell confirmed there was no mention of the fate of the scout facilities in the version of the local plan considered by the Highways and Planning committee the previous week, so the Town Council's official response to the local plan will not take it into account.

County Councillor for Grange Park, Bruce Tennant, thought the scout HQ had "just slipped through" the local plan.

The Lib Dem leader, Cllr Keith House, admitted it "probably should have been in the plan", but urged the scouts to see it as an "opportunity, not a threat".

The scouts made clear that it is not just the building that is threatened but the land surrounding it where they provide outside activities for young people in Grange Park.  It is not immediately clear where there is an available parcel of land of the same size nearby that the Borough Council could give to the scouts in compensation for their planning blunder.

The Lib Dems plan does take account of facilities used by another scout group, this time in Bursledon. Policy BU3 has an explicit condition that the proposed development will protect those facilities, but HE3 does not do the same for the Grange Park group. Is this another example of local Lib Dems paying more attention to their constituents in Bursledon and Hamble, while taking Hedge End voters for granted?

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