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Scouts see £10,000 go out the window
7:59am Friday 27th July 2012 in Ledbury
SCOUTS in Ledbury will be hit in the pocket for £10,000 – for having the wrong kind of windows installed at their hut.
1st Ledbury Scouts had double-glazed panes fitted at their premises in The Homend at a cost of about £10,000 less than three years ago.
Group chairman Shaun Burch said no-one had any idea when the project was carried out that the smart new windows that were fitted were not deemed suitable for the listed building.
However that has proved to be the case, leaving the group facing the nightmare scenario of having to find at least another £10,000 to rip out the offending windows and replace them once again.
Herefordshire Council, the planning authority, said it received a complaint about the windows in September 2009.
It wrote to the Scouts, saying they should not have been fitted without listed building consent and explaining that an application to retain them could be submitted, but it was unlikely to be supported as the windows were considered inappropriate for a listed building.
No formal enforcement action was taken, but earlier this year the council wrote again to the Scouts, asking what progress had been made.
In response they applied for planning consent for replacement hardwood windows, which was promptly approved.
However, these have been costed at between £10- 14,000 – money the group simply does not have.
“It was a huge effort to put those windows in just a couple of years ago and relied on a great deal of fund-raising and a lot of support from the community,” he said.
“After that the coffers are still quite bare and we have nowhere near enough money to be doing the project all over again.”
He said it felt like the council was coming calling like the Sheriff of Nottingham.
“A mistake was made on our behalf but they are now knocking on a charity’s door and demanding we spend money that would surely be better used to support the 60- plus children we have in our group,” he said.
“It is placing a huge financial burden on us at a time when the money is just not there. The previous windows were beyond repair and the new ones look smart and tidy – if you were just to walk past you would wonder what all the fuss is about.”
Herefordshire Council has now asked the Scouts to submit a timetable for the replacement work.
A spokesman said: “Once we receive that information, we will review our position.”
PICTURE CAPTION: LISTED BUILDING: Todd Phillips, aged eight, stands in front of the 1st Ledbury Scouts hut which will need another set of new windows at a cost of £10,000. Pictured back, from left, are Becky Kerridge, 10, William Snelling, eight, James Kerridge, 12, and Sebastian Roffey, 10. Picture by Paul Jackson. 30095001. To order go to ledburyreporter.co.uk.