Sunday, 05 December 2021

Scouts plan to relocate and build new hall

A NEW meeting hall could be built for the Loddon District Scouts.

The group currently meets in a modular building on Paddicks Patch in Waingels Road, Woodley, which was previously a temporary classroom.

This building dates back to the late Sixties or early Seventies and has water supply and maintenance problems. It has also been burgled and vandalised.

The scouts initially explored the idea of a new building on the same site but decided it would be better to move to another part of land.

They would be able to use the existing hall until the new one is built.

Loddon District is one of several units that makes up the county of Royal Berkshire and serves Wargrave, Charvil, Sonning, Hurst and Twyford.

The unit has  asked Wokingham Borough Council, the planning authority, for permission for the new hall.

The project would include demolishing the existing hall, relocating three storage containers and improving the parking, including the installation of a cycle stand.

A design and access statement submitted with the application says the scouts’ current hall had been designed to last just 20 years, adding: “At approaching 50 years of use, it has exceeded that time by some margin.

“Repairs are now frequent and costly. The old, poorly insulated design means that its energy efficiency is also poor. 

“Initial thoughts were to simply replace the existing building with a new building and a pre-application advice submission was made in the autumn of 2018.

“However, as planning of the development has progressed, it has become apparent that rebuilding in a different location would produce a better solution.

“Constructing the new building on the site of the existing building would probably take 12 to 18 months to complete.

“During that time, while the existing building is demolished and the new one constructed, the clubs would need to find temporary accommodation. This would prove difficult in view of the unique nature of the site and its facilities.

“It would be less problematic if the new building could be constructed first so that the existing hall can be used while the new one is built.”

Loddon District Scouts provide activities for beavers, cubs and scouts. The oldest age group, the Explorers, caters for people up to 25.

The Paddicks Patch site is used for outdoor activities and woodcraft by the various groups.

Charvil Parish Council supports the application, saying the new hall would enhance the site in the long term. Woodley Town Council raised no objection.

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