Little Abington campsite has been saved as a venue for community use after being bought by the Cambridge International School (CIS).
Cambridgeshire Scouts decided to sell the site having been given planning permission for several bungalows and initially planning to reinvest that cash in restoring the site.
The decision to sell provoked outrage, with a petition to keep it as a Scout site attracting thousands of signatures and Little Abington Parish Council and other community groups triggering a right to buy as they endeavoured to match the £400,000 asking price and buy the site themselves to keep it active.
Despite having failed to buy the site, new owners CIS have pledged that the site will be run as an outdoor education centre and groups such as the Scouts, Guides and youngsters working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award will be welcome, with the sale set to be completed shortly.
Daniel Sturdy from private school CIS said “We are delighted to be acquiring this site.
“We plan to operate it as an outdoor education centre, including a forest school and will work with a range of community groups.
“We look forward to welcoming Scout groups and other youth and community groups back onto the site in the very near future.”
Confirming the site would be rejuvenated, he added: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the parish council to restore the campsite to full use.
“Our plans are at a very early stage but they certainly include a mixture of educational and scouting activities.
“Once we are a bit further down the road towards completion we will be in a position to provide further details.”
Reg Cullum, a trustee of the Friends of Abington Woods, said the group still has a future in helping with the refurbishment of the site.
“We welcome the decision to let the bid go forward and Mr Sturdy has indicated that it will be open to all sorts of young people as a programme for information and learning,” he said.
“It’s still a community facility in the broadest terms and the whole idea was to give young people from whatever route they came down the chance to have outdoor adventure, and that has been achieved.”
Liz Craig, county commissioner for Cambridgeshire Scouts, said. “This approach to managing the site is in the best interests of all concerned and is being supported by the local parish council.
“CIS plan to make the site available for use by local Scout groups for basic camping activity so this site is not lost to those group who wish to continue to use it.
“The assets realised from the sale will now be put into supporting all eight thousand Cambridgeshire Scouts.
“Furthermore the long term investment liabilities associated with running a site like this have been removed from the Scout County and we are now able to concentrate on our core work of delivering high quality youth work to the young people of Cambridgeshire.”
Little Abington Parish Council issued a statement saying: “We are pleased to see that the Scouts have made this announcement.
“The Cambridge International School shares the parish council’s vision of preserving it as an open space for the use of children for education and adventure and we will be very happy to work with them.
“We will continue to post updates on the village web-site.”
It is still unclear whether the Abington Jeremiah Scouts, who had relocated their headquarters from the site to Hildersham, will be able to return for their weekly meetings.
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, October 24) Echo.