Attleborough Scouts fail to pay rent to council for 30 years

Image source, Geograph/Adrian Cable
Image caption, Attleborough Town Council heard that the Scouts were sub-letting a council venue for birthday parties, despite not paying rent

A Scout group has not paid its rent for 30 years, a review of a council's leases has revealed.

The information came to light after the mayor of Attleborough Town Council examined nine lease agreements with business and community groups.

One of the longest cases involved Attleborough Scouts which appeared not to have paid any rent since 1991.

A motion in 2016 said it should pay in line with rent paid by the bowls club - currently about £770 a year.

At a meeting, councillors were informed agreements had not been reviewed for years, while others had lapsed completely, meaning the council had taken no income from them.

Mayor Philip Leslie, who investigated the leases, said "it did not look very good", the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

Councillor Taila Taylor said of the Scouts: "It's my understanding that we've had no income from them to date, but they sub-let, they do birthday parties.

"I'm guessing they're not letting these people use it for free, they're taking money but they're not giving us anything - which I think is ruthless.

"I think we should evict them."

That view was echoed by councillor Sue Marsh, who said the Scouting Association accounts were available online and they had the cash.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Attleborough Scouts have not paid any rent since 1991 according to the town council

It was also revealed the Pavilion Nursery, which is run by town councillor Vera Dale, had been given a 25-year lease in 2016 by the former town clerk, without any sign-off from councillors.

Other leases included the Town Hall Bar and the Andy Free car park off Dairy Farm Court, which had paid no rent since the lease ended in 2019.

The council was also found to be paying for buildings insurance on the two bowls club buildings, which were owned by the clubs.

The town's football club, which plays on Station Road, had found new tenants without consulting the council, which Ms Taylor described as "insane".

The mayor promised to release a report to the public explaining how the situation had occurred.

Attleborough Scouts and Vera Dale have been contacted for comment.

In 2020, the council was were forced to pay out £114,000 of taxpayers' money in damages and legal costs over false bullying accusations against two councillors.

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