Town Hall promise to support scouts

Scout leaders say the future of the 1st Bispham group has been thrown into doubt following a tenfold increase in ground rent by Blackpool Council
Scout leaders say the future of the 1st Bispham group has been thrown into doubt following a tenfold increase in ground rent by Blackpool Council
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TOWN hall bosses have pledged to continue supporting Blackpool Scouts as a rent hike of 1,399 per cent threatens groups with closure.

Scout leaders have launched a campaign for fair rents after The Gazette revealed how ground rates at their Bispham headquarters have shot from £10 a year to £1,400.

Although Blackpool Council says the 30 year tariff is a “fair rate” and not negotiable, they say they will work with the Scouts to look at the terms of the lease.

Leader Peter Callow added: “Blackpool Scouts get support from a number of different councillors who allocate part of their ward budgets towards their running costs.

“In the past, Norbreck Scouts received £2,000 from our ward budget and we will continue to support them in this way.

“Scouting is just the kind of wholesome outdoor activity we would like local young people to be involved in so we will do what we can to safeguard their future.”

Nationally, Scouts have been campaigning for what they describe as “fair rents” saying cash given to pay rising rates is being taken away from activities and equipment to benefit young people.

Blackpool Council bosses say they will look to negotiate a shorter lease period which will mean the impact of the rate rise is lessened or will look to have the rent paid in increments.

Steve Williams, district commissioner for Blackpool Scouts said the news was encouraging.

He added: “We’ve had a lot of messages of support and welcome the fact we are back in discussion with Blackpool Council to look for a way forward.”