Debate over proposals for £500k new 1st Topsham Sea Scouts HQ
PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 May 2016
Plans to build a new base for the 1st Topsham Sea Scouts have been met with opposition from some residents.
The sea scouts’ hut at the Recreation Ground was flooded in 2013 and fundraiser Nick Batchelor is leading efforts to find them a new home.
The group wants to build on the same site, next to its old building, and is awaiting planning approval from Exeter City Council. The project’s estimated cost is £500,000.
Opposed to the plans is resident Phil Holcroft, of Ferry Road, who said he cannot support the current proposal.
He told the Journal: “As residents, we are entirely supportive of the 1st Topsham Sea Scouts having a new building. We are aware the sea scouts have been trying to raise the money for the project for years.
“But we don’t support the current design, which is three storeys high and has a multi-purpose roof. We have had no details about what materials will be used. We also object because there will be no parking.
“As residents, we see a ready-made solution. The Dorothy Holman Centre has offered to raise the necessary funds for the scouts and to do this as a joint proposal. The plan would see the youth centre building extended, which I feel is a win-win situation.”
Susan Wright, secretary of the Dorothy Holman Youth and Community Centre management committee, confirmed it had offered to collaborate with the 1st Topsham Sea Scouts.
She said the scouts’ current proposal will cause problems for residents and users of the Recreation Ground.
Mr Batchelor, of Monmouth Street, said the offer from the Dorothy Holman Centre did not meet the scouts’ requirements.
He said: “The Dorothy Holman Centre offered us the opportunity to part utilise their building. We are extremely grateful to them for giving us a temporary home.
“Our first thoughts were that this would be an excellent opportunity, until we sat down to draft out what we required - large, accessible storage for outbound activities such as camping, showers, changing facilities and a high internal hall ceiling to allow use of long poles and separate toilets away from the hall. The Dorothy Holman Centre offers none of these facilities.
“Having reviewed this and explored the idea of working with two other charities, it was felt that we would be best served re-building the scout hut.”
He added that the 1st Topsham Sea Scouts has addressed a number of residents’ concerns and said: “Parking has been addressed and improved in three ways. We have had approval from Topsham Rugby Club, who have approved us to park on their ground if needed.
“South West Water has outline approved the use of the access road for parking for users with a gate to prevent use of spaces. There has been a report commissioned by the Highways Agency that states the increase in traffic will be negligible.
“Our design incorporates down lighting to reduce sideways light that may fall nearer residents’ houses. I have it from the designer and a roof specialist that our roof is more stable than a flat roof. There were also concerns the design footprint goes into the park - we have an extension into the park agreed by Exeter City Council for access only.”