New hall set to end ‘nomadic existence’ for Fife scout group after fire

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Fife Council has finally given a resilient scout group the green light to build a new hall after a fire nearly four years ago forced it to lead a “nomadic existence.”

The 4th Fife Scout Group Cardenden can now forge ahead with its plans for a new facility on farmland opposite St Ninian’s Primary School on Orebank Road.

It’s been a challenging time for the group since its former hall was hit by a blaze, and planning permission for its original site had to be scrapped.

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A planning report said: "It has been more than three years since the unfortunate accident during which the Scouts have explored multiple options and have been actively seeking site solutions with the help of Fife Council.

The damage caused by the devastating fire in the scout hallThe damage caused by the devastating fire in the scout hall
The damage caused by the devastating fire in the scout hall

"As a result of the fire the scouts have been forced into a nomadic existence."

It has been based out of Auchterderran Church Hall while it searched for a new home, and fundraised to make to a reality.

Graham Gilbert, an executive committee member of the group, said the loss of the former hall has been a blow to the entire community.

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He said: “Cardenden is an ex-mining village that suffers from poverty. The loss of the hall denied the resource to not only to the scouts but other youth groups as well.

“Initially we had permission for a different site. However, we found out that the ground was an old rubbish dump used in the village and covered up by earth. Planning wasn’t very keen and we eventually abandoned that site.

“We’ve had a few bumps in the road along the way, but we’ve got the planning permission now."

The new hall will not only benefit the scouts, but it will also provide access to the local St. Ninian’s Primary School as an exercise hall, and provide daytime parking for teachers.

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A field toward the rear of the building will also provide an exercise and activity space for the Scouts and local community as well.

However, the scouts must overcome funding hurdles to proceed.

“We’re relatively hopeful we’ll have enough money to build what is a very simple hall - and not a huge hall either,” Mr Gilbert said. “It’s probably £250,000, and for a little group like ours in an ex-mining village that’s quite an undertaking.

“Our big fear is that with inflation of materials, the price we’ll be quoted for the final building will have gone up. We’re applying for additional funding, just in case. We have various grant applications in now.”

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According to planning papers, the scouts will use the hall three midweek evenings during term time with occasional daytime weekend use. The hall will be used for indoor community purposes the rest of the week and at weekends.

“The cost far exceeds what we had in the original building, but we’ve managed to keep the project going so far,” Mr Gilbert said. “We are very closely aligned with the people in the village and this building will not only benefit the scouts, but also the entire community of Cardenden.”