Labour Council accused of letting down local Scouts

Eltham Councillor, Spencer Drury has accused the Labour Council of letting down Royal Greenwich District Scouts by failing to confirm the lease on their centre at Briset Road in Eltham (named ‘The Hub’).


Negotiations over the lease for the land on which ‘The Hub’ is built were started in 2009, but no progress has been made in the intervening six years.  In the intervening years, Greenwich Council’s failure to complete the negotiations has meant that the Scouts have been unable to obtain any charitable donations towards repairs (as there is no lease in place) and have now had to spend £9,000 from their own reserves on reinstating the roof and guttering.  Had the lease been in place, standard maintenance would have prevented leaks and reduced the total repair cost.


Spencer, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Eltham, became involved in the long-running saga towards the end of last year and was promised that “Subject to Member decision it is anticipated the Council will be able to make a proposal to the Scout Group regarding the future arrangements for the property by the end of January.”  Naturally January came and went without any movement from the Council so at the end of March Spencer asked about the situation in Full Council and did secure an assurance that “there is an assumption that the Scouts will continue to occupy and use the building.”  However, further details were sadly lacking and no progress has been made in the intervening weeks.


Spencer said “I am extremely concerned that this lease has not been negotiated in a timely fashion by the Council.  They have a record of destroying community assets like this building and their delay has incurred substantial costs for the Royal Greenwich Scouts.”

Sam speaking with Spencer outside the Hub

Royal Greenwich Explorer Scout, 17 year old, Sam Chatterley said “Nothing is more important to growing Royal Greenwich scouting than having a local, reliable place to hold meetings and activities, and I think it is the council's job to do everything they can, as quickly as they can, to help sort the issue of the lease, so we can continue providing safe scouting to the more than one thousand scouts in the borough."


Spencer added “As ever with the Labour Party, they say the right things, but seldom take any action which supports our local community.  They have closed the Rochester Way Club despite protests from the community, and at the other end of the road are now delaying in bringing the negotiation with the Scout to a successful conclusion.  I do worry about whether they intend to drive the Scouts out and demolish yet another community asset, having already closed the local youth centre and social club.”