Scout group speaks out after losing out on Hednesford community centre lease

A Scout group that has been searching for a new home for six years has spoken out after its latest bid proved unsuccessful.

Pye Green Community Centre
Pye Green Community Centre

Hednesford Town Council’s plans to transfer the lease of Pye Green Community Centre to 1st Hednesford Scout Group were rejected by Cannock Chase Council’s cabinet earlier this month.

The proposal met with strong opposition from residents, with more than 1,400 people signing a petition against the transfer.

There were concerns a number of community groups would have been unable to continue meeting there in the evenings and during 16 weekends each year if the Scout group took on the running of the building.

Last year 1st Hednesford Scout Group’s application to build a new base on land it had previously owned on Tower Road was refused permission by the district council’s planning committee because of loss of green space. This application met with objections from dozens of residents, with fears that elderly neighbours would be kept awake by noise.

The Scout group has been providing activities for young people in the area for more than a century. The Tower Road land where it previously met was sold off for housing in the 1950s.

It is currently based at Mavis Road but has been looking to move to a new venue for several years to help meet demand from youngsters wanting to join.

The group’s search for a new site continues. Following the Pye Green Community Centre lease decision, 1st Hednesford Scout Group has urged anyone who can suggest a suitable alternative venue to get in contact.

A statement from the group said: “Even though the objections to Tower Road and Pye Green Community Centre were hostile, the Scouts by their very nature remain non-political and will not engage in a political debate under any circumstances.

“When it became obvious that our current premises were no longer fit for purpose in terms of being able to accommodate the growing numbers of young people attending the decision was made to look for either a piece of land or a building that was suitable.

“That search began six years ago, nothing was available and that now remains true today. The search is further limited by the need to keep the new premises within the confines of Hednesford. During the six years we have worked closely with the officers of Cannock Chase Council and would like to thank them for their assistance.

“First Hednesford Scouts, founded in 1908, are a community-based group whose volunteers are committed to helping youngsters from six to 18 years of age. They are not, as recently incorrectly stated on social media platforms, ‘just a group of boys pursuing a hobby’.

“They are fully-inclusive and extend their support to DofE (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award) participants from local schools who are non-Scouts through offering volunteering opportunities. Additional help is extended behind the scenes to vulnerable children within our community.

“The Scouts will continue to search for suitable premises which will allow them to continue to grow in the way that best suits the youngsters in their care and the growing number of applications to join. If anyone in the community has any knowledge of land or buildings that are within the boundary of Hednesford that could be considered suitable accommodation for the Scouts we would love to hear from you.”

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