Group formed to oppose sale of Little Abington Scout campsite

 Scout campsite on Church Lane, Little Abington,
Scout campsite on Church Lane, Little Abington,

A group has been set up to oppose the sale of a Scout campsite in Little Abington.

Cambridgeshire Scouts plans to sell Little Abington Campsite, which has around 2,500 young visitors a year and the River Granta running through it.

Scout campsite on Church Lane, Little Abington,

Scout campsite on Church Lane, Little Abington,

The charity had already received planning permission from South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) to build three bungalows on part of the land and a new headquarters for the Abington Jeremiah’s Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, yet now it instead plans to sell the land entirely, which would force the village group to find a home elsewhere.

Friends of Abington Campsite (FACS) has now been set up to try and prevent the sale of the site, founded in 1932.

A spokesman for FACS said: “The impression we get is that they will try and sell it for housing.

“We have an imminent meeting where we will become an official group.

Scout campsite on Church Lane, Little Abington,

Scout campsite on Church Lane, Little Abington,

“We have plans and ideas that we can take forward and will see what we can do to save the site.

“It’s used almost every weekend and is a vital resource.

“St Ives, the only other campsite in the area, is smaller and regularly floods.”

FACS are looking into challenging whether the county Scout association even owns the campsite.

“The site was given to Cambridgeshire District in 1932 and somewhere in the past the county have taken over management of it.

“As far as we can establish we are pretty certain that the district has never been disbanded.”

FACS believe Cambridgeshire Scouts will make around £230,000 from the sale of the site.

The group will either try to stop the sale of the land or raise enough cash to buy it.

The site is also used by high school students completing their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The Scout Association said the sale of the campsite would likely be ‘in months, not years’.

Cash raised would be reinvested in scouting, with the plan to be to buy a campsite more central in Cambridgeshire, though the purchase of a new site is not certain.

A spokesman said no more housing in addition to the three planned bungalows would be allowed to be developed on the site as it is outside the village envelope.

He added that a new headquarters would be found for the Abington Scouts, adding: “There is no risk of the group folding as a result of this.”

A SCDC spokeswoman said housing would only likely be given planning permission if it was an exception for affordable housing.

There are no plans to include the campsite as part of the village envelope in South Cambridgeshire’s local plan.

Little Abington Parish Council has requested for the site to be designated as recreational land, which would also prevent housing there.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (April 18) Echo.