Scout Hut Lease Background

You can read a record of all minuted agenda items from NHPC meetings relating to the scout hut lease between 2014 and 2020 in this Summary document.

 You can also access the full minutes of past NHPC meetings on the All Past Meetings page. Other related documents are available below, under the corresponding key dates / decisions.

Latest update 18 Dec:letter was sent by NHPC to the Scout Group following the Council meeting on 17th December 2020 and includes the latest offer to the Scout Group of a new lease with an expiry date of 30th April 2022. More details at the end of the timeline below.

Key dates and decisions

1973:

  • NHPC leases land in the north-west corner of the upper Louie Memorial Playing Field to the Scout Association, for building a scout hut to serve as the headquarters of the 4th Oxford Scout Group. NHPC retain public ownership of the land, while the Scout Group secures planning permission and funding for the building. The lease is on a long-term, peppercorn rent basis (£0 annual rent).

2001:

  • NHPC agrees 2nd long-term peppercorn rent lease with the Scout Association on behalf of the 4th Oxford Scout Group, end of 1st July 2020. The Scout Group retains exclusive access and responsibility for maintaining the building, NHPC retains ownership of the surrounding outdoor space. Read the lease.

2013:

  • With the possibility of Section 106 funds from the Harcourt Place development off Lime Road, discussions are held by the Louie Memorial Pavilion Trustees with NHPC and the 4th Oxford Scouts about a new joint-use building to replace both existing buildings. The funding was not granted, and discussions lapsed.

2014:

  • Needing to make substantial roof repairs, the Scout Group asks NHPC if renewal of the scout hut lease in 2020 is assured. NHPC decides that it will not guarantee renewal of the lease at this stage owing to the continued intention to replace one or both buildings in the future.

2017:

  • Discussions re-start between representatives of the Scout Group, NHPC, and LM Pavilion Trustees to explore the possibility of a new shared-use building and a new legal agreement with the Scout Group beyond 2020.
  • July: the Scout Group generates a wish list for future facilities, which alongside input from NHPC and Pavilion Trustees serves as the basis for a project brief developed by leisure officers at Vale of White Horse District Council.  

2018:

  • Planning consultant Nortoft does a feasibility study and develops initial proposals for consideration by a community stakeholder group (representatives from the Scout Group, Youth Club, Pavilion Trustees, NHPC, and Vale District Council).
  • March: Public consultation on the options is launched at the Annual Parish Meeting. View the APM presentation, read the APM minutes.
  • April: A second consultation event and community-wide survey is held. April presentation.
  • The NHPC Recreation & Amenities Committee establishes a Working Group towards development of a new legal agreement with the Scout Group, to come into effect after the current lease expires in 2020. Read the R&A minutes.
  • Public consultation completes and shows strong support for a new shared-use building. – See results of consultation relating to Scout hut. and full consultation results. Scout Group representatives raise concerns about aspects of the shared-used building (separable spaces for safeguarding, storage and tent-drying space, terms of access under new lease/licence agreement, confirmation of costs), which are discussed at Working Group meetings in May, June, and September.
  • July: Nortoft holds a final stakeholder group meeting where changes to the building layout are made in response to Scouts representatives’ concerns.
  • November: Terms of access and confirmation of costs are the main focus of a Working Group meeting. The Scout Group and NHPC produce documents outlining their current positions on the negotiations. Read the Scouts letter outlining requirements for legal agreement. Read NHPC’s statement of intent in response.
  • December: The Scout Group calls on NHPC to revise the draft planning application for retention of the scout hut. After a lengthy debate with input from the Scout Group and other community representatives, NHPC votes to proceed with the plans for a shared-use building. – Read the minutes of December 2018 meeting.

2019:

  • NHPC invites the Scout Group to continue discussions towards a longer-term agreement.
  • January: At the R&A Committee meeting Scouts representatives indicate that they will pursue action to retain legal protections on the current lease. Working Group discussions are paused for NHPC to take legal advice on the status of the lease. Read the January R&A minutes.
  • NHPC submits a planning application for a new shared-use building, which undergoes public consultation. The Scout Group submits objections to the planning application.
  • May: Parish Council elections are held, where the planning application and scout hut are campaign issues.
  • Following initially positive communication with the Scout Group chair, the newly-elected NHPC presents a statement of its current position on the negotiations and an invitation to the Scout Group to hold a public meeting on the issues. The Scout Group declines this invitation and submits a further objection to the planning application. – Read the NHPC position statement and meeting invitation.
  • July: NHPC re-establishes the Working Group to continue discussions about a new legal agreement with the Scout Group beyond 2020.
  • Planning permission for the new shared-use building is granted by Vale District Council. Read the Vale’s planning report, and the planning decision letter.
  • (Following planning approval the scout hut least was discussed at nearly all Parish Council meetings between September 2019 and November 2020. The compiled minutes of those discussions and decisions are available in a summary document.)
  • September: In response to communication from the Scout Group suggesting possible financial compensation if NHPC proceed with the approved plans, NHPC takes legal advice on potential actions and costs associated with bringing the current lease to an end on its stated end date (1st July 2020).
  • NHPC clarifies with the Scout Group that it does not intend to offer a new long-term lease but does intend to offer a shorter-term lease for continued use of the scout hut up until building works begin.
  • October: Following legal advice, NHPC initiates the process of bringing the current lease to an end on its stated end date by issuing a section 25 notice under the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act.
  • NHPC asks the Scout Group to re-start discussions through the Working Group about its longer-term plans for the location of its headquarters, and about a shorter-term lease on the scout hut between expiry of the current lease and the start of building works.
  • December: NHPC notifies the Scout Group that the section 25 notice has been issued and asks again that discussions be held to clarify terms of a new short-term lease, which initially would be for 1 year beyond the expiry of the current lease.

2020:

  • February: NHPC request mediation from the national Scout Association to encourage the 4th Oxford Scout Group to participate in discussions about a new lease.
  • April: NHPC considers further letters from the 4th Oxford Scouts while waiting for confirmation of any legal action to be taken by them in response to the section 25 notice issued four months previously.
  • May: NHPC considers further advice from its solicitors about a possible legal challenge by the Scout Group, and authorises its solicitors to draft a short-term lease as an alternative to the Scout Group seeking a long-term lease through the courts.
  • June: NHPC agree resolutions in response to each of three possible actions that the Scout Group might take before the expiration of the current lease on 1st July (i.e. the Scout Group challenges the section 25 notice in court, does not challenge in court but requests a new shorter-term lease, or takes no action at all).
  • In-principle agreement was reached with the Scout Group by email on 29th June for a shorter-term lease, with a target date of 31st July for signing and taking effect.
  • July: NHPC agreed the new lease, which is sent to the Scout Association and the 4th Oxford Scout Group for review. A temporary Tenancy at Will is put into effect, which either party can terminate with no advance notice.
  • September: The new lease remains unsigned. Following a further legal advice, NHPC authorises its solicitors to engage directly with the Scout Association (the legal tenant) to agree wording of the lease by October.  
  • October: Following no progress on the signing of the new lease, NHPC sets a deadline of 26th November with notice that if the lease is not signed by that date then the Scout Group will be required to vacate the scout hut by 31st December. Read the November NHPC open letter to the Scouts trustees and parents.
  • November: NHPC authorises its solicitors to prepare documents in response to a Judicial Review being sought by the Scout Group chair, and to issue notice that the Tenancy at Will has come to an end as the new lease was not signed by the stated deadline. This was reviewed at the December meeting.
  • December: The NHPC December meeting passed resolutions to (a) extend the period that the Scouts Group are allowed access to the Scout Hut to remove their belongings to a later deadline of 1st March 2021, (b) to make a new offer to the Scout Group of a short-term lease, with the same terms as offered in July 2020 but with an expiry date of 30th April 2022. The signing deadline is 24th February 2021 and if signed there is no need for the Scout Group to vacate the premises by 1st March 2021; and (c) to plan a public meeting (likely to be online) to re-engage the community on options for the future of both the Pavilion and the Scout Hut. A proposal on this will be presented at the January meeting.

2021

  • January: NHPC agreed to include the Pavilion on the Agenda for the Annual Parish Meeting in March.
  • February: The Parish Council received no response from the Scouts to the proposed new lease by the Feb 24th deadline. It has been reported that the Scouts are moving out of the building with handover of the building due to take place by 1st March..
  • March: The Pavilion will be discussed at Annual Parish Meeting on 18th March. Agenda will be posted on the Meetings page and in a news item on the home page of the website.