Ambitious plans for a new Scouts HQ and community centre in Cock Lane have won approval from Mole Valley councillors.
With a budget of more than £1.4 million, this will be the largest community project in Fetcham for many years.
Andy Black, Chairman of the Community Interest Company set up to run the project, said: “We’re so grateful for all the support we’ve had so far from Fetcham residents.
“The building will be used by 1st Fetcham Scouts, who have a large membership of local families, and it will also host activities run by St Mary’s Church. There are initial plans for a pre-school, and we expect the café and meeting rooms to be extensively used by local residents of all ages.”
The new building will be going up on the site of what is now the children’s playground. This will be relocated to near the front of the community centre and refurbished.
The old Scout Hut, built in 1956, will be demolished and the land used for car parking.
Mr Black also gave some more detail about the layout of the building and its facilities.
“There will be a main hall and adjoining café which can be combined into a single area for events of up to 150 people. Upstairs, there will be four, lift-accessible, meeting rooms, the largest of which will open out onto a balcony, which overlooks the Rec, and will be an excellent venue for social gatherings.
“There will be a well-appointed kitchen suitable for catering to large parties. The whole building will be accessible to people with disabilities, including a full changing room.”
The winning of planning consent this December follows a three-year fund raising campaign. But it’s not over yet. The project has raised an impressive £900,000 so far, but still needs to find another half million or so to complete the building some time in 2022.
In the coming year, the project is planning to consult across the Fetcham community and will be looking for yet more ideas on getting the most out of the building.
The FRA will be doing all it can to support the promotion and encouragement of the additional fund raising efforts.
FRA Chairman Tim Waller said: “We welcome the official approval for this facility, and congratulate the project team on what they have achieved so far. The Greenhouse promises to become a major asset to the Fetcham community for years to come.”
1st Fetcham Scout Group currently has 235 members, including adult volunteers and uniformed leaders. The Group is made up of four sections of age groups of mixed genders: Beavers (age 6 to 8), Cubs (age 8 to 10.5), Scouts (age 10.5 to 14) and Explorer Scouts (age 14 to 18).