A charity has been set up with the intention of running Little Abington Campsite as campaigners continue to battle raise the cash needed to buy the site.g
Reg Cullum, 73, from Sawston, is one of the trustees of the Abington Woods Foundation, which is appealing for donations as it aims to buy the site and run it in partnership with Little Abington Parish Council.
“The plan is to be able to purchase the site and, moving on from that, to open it up as a community venue for those organisations that have a keen interest in promoting young people to good citizenship, such as Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, Scouts and Guides, and so on,” he said.
“We plan to keep it as campsite with more facilities, such as enabling those who help young vulnerable and disabled people to use the site.
“We want to appeal to more groups, and the idea with Abington is to accommodate each through existing facilities or consider how we can adapt and improve buildings to accommodate people.
“Within our midst we have a chap from business management who has gone through the whole process and he had indicated that if the interest that’s already being shown comes to fruition then the campsite is more than sustainable.
“We’ve had lots of support already and the residents of the Abingtons are willing us to carry on with the campaign.”
The value of the site is estimated between £270,000 and £275,000. Cambridgeshire Scouts plans to sell the entire site, established in 1932, and invest in a new central site as they say the Abington campsite had become unsustainable.
However, their controversial decision sparked a backlash from the Scouting community and Abingtons residents with a petition to save the site attracting 2,000 signatures, and after the site was listed as a community interest residents and the Friends of Abington Campsite group triggered a right to buy in May.
That gave them six months to raise the funds and submit an offer for the site, during which time Cambridgeshire Scouts could not sell it to anyone else.
The county Scout organisation had already received planning permission from South Cambridgeshire District Council for a number of bungalows on the site and originally said it would reinvest the cash raised back into restoring the site, yet then decided to instead sell the whole site.
However, being outside the village envelope means planning permission for further development on the site would likely be refused.
To make donations contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by post Treasurer for FACS, c/o 132, Cromwell Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EG
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, September 12) Echo.