Cambridgeshire Scouts defends sale of camp at Abington

Image caption,
The buildings at Little Abington Campsite are no longer "fit for purpose"

Cambridgeshire Scouts is selling off a campsite, donated to it 80 years ago, for housing.

It says the sale of the site in Little Abington, south Cambridgeshire, will benefit all 8,000 members "not just a few in a local area".

Parent Keith Jordan said "It's just very sad that it has come to suddenly selling it off for a few houses."

The money raised would be used for the development of scouting in the county, said the organisation.

Liz Craig, lead volunteer for Cambridgeshire Scouts, said: "It is a very nice piece of land, but the trustees of the county, myself being one, have a responsibility to all 8,000 members of Cambridgeshire Scouting.

'Backwoods-type stuff'

"Less than one third of the county use the site on a regular basis and we have a responsibility to ensure that anything we do is of benefit for all the members in the county and not just a few in a local area."

Image caption,
The site includes a fire pit, meadows and woodland and borders the River Granta

Little Abington Campsite is a grass and woodland site, bordering a small stream.

There are indoor catering facilities, showers and lavatories, but Mrs Craig said "we're looking at between £250,000 to £500,000 just to bring them up to be fit for purpose".

"There is a comparable campsite only six or seven miles away in Cambridge, so it's not like this is the only facility of its kind," she added.

Mr Jordan, whose children camped at Little Abington, said: "I couldn't think of anywhere that's got all the features for a simple weekend camp."

The Shelfords and Stapleford scout leader Charles Crawley said his group used the site for evening events several times a term for "backwoods-type stuff" such as building fires, as well as for weekend camps.

"This site isn't the only place, but [the Cambridgeshire Scouts] haven't told us where they're going to provide us a site where we can do the same sort of things," he added.

"A lot of the camp sites now are getting increasingly theme-park like.

"They don't let you do the open fires and running around and getting your hands dirty - that's actually what children really like."

The site has planning permission for three bungalows.

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