Greenhouse project terminated as ‘unviable’

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The Greenhouse project to replace the Cock Lane scout hut with a larger community building has been terminated after its directors concluded it was no longer viable.

In a statement from Peaceful Streams, the community interest company behind the project, the directors expressed their “great sadness” at the decision. 

The statement continues: “The issues we face have included an ever-extending timeframe, escalating costs, increasing complexity and very substantial risks to the project being approved.

“After much consideration, we have come to the conclusion that these issues make the project unviable in its current form.“

The Greenhouse building won planning consent from Mole Valley District Council last December.  But complex legal issues concerning how the new larger building would be accommodated on the Rec site were still to be negotiated.

Peaceful Streams Director Andy Black said: “I am very saddened and sorry that we have not been able to bring this project to fruition.  However, I feel that when one door closes another usually opens. 

“We’re very hopeful that with a scaled back plan and the full backing of Mole Valley District Council, the Scouts may have a new HQ sooner rather than later.  We also hope to find other ways, working with the Scouts and St Mary’s, to bring some love to those in the community who most need it.”

Over a three year period the project had raised more than £900,000 towards a target of £1.4 million.

It’s planned that Peaceful Streams CIC will now be wound up and its assets transferred to 1st Fetcham Scouts.

Fetcham West Councillor Paul Kennedy was a vocal supporter of the project at its planning stage.

He commented: "Andy Black and his team have given so much, and we are all desperately disappointed that their ambitious vision cannot be fully fulfilled. It is nevertheless good news that their work can still be invested in a new scout hut for the Fetcham community, and that the Council remains committed to upgrading the children's playground."

And Fetcham Residents Association Chairman Tim Waller said: "This is very disappointing news, but equally it is essential that a project such as this is viable in the short and long term.  We sincerely hope that a revised scheme can be put together quickly for the benefit of the Scouts and the Fetcham community."

The Scout group currently has 170 young members ranged across four main sections – Beavers (aged 6 to 8), Cubs (aged 8 to 10), Scouts (aged 10 to 14) and Explorer Scouts (aged 14 to 18).

The present scout hut was built in the 1950s and is now well past its intended life. 

Below is the full statement issued by Peaceful Streams earlier this week.

"It is with a great deal of sadness that the Directors of Peaceful Streams Community Interest Company Ltd have decided to terminate their efforts to establish The Greenhouse community centre which was to be based on the Cock Lane Recreation ground in Fetcham. 

This decision has been an extremely difficult one for us to take.  The issues we face have included an ever-extending timeframe, escalating costs, increasing complexity and very substantial risks to the project being approved.

After much consideration, we have come to the conclusion that these issues make the project unviable in its current form.

Throughout this process we have been very grateful for the extraordinary fund-raising efforts undertaken on behalf of the project and the widespread support the Greenhouse enjoyed within the Fetcham community.

We have therefore decided that the right course of action at this time is to enable 1st Fetcham Scouts to reassess the feasibility of a smaller scale replacement for the existing Scout Hut.  Peaceful Streams CIC will be wound up and its assets transferred to the 1st Fetcham Scouts. We will support 1st Fetcham Scouts with this revised project which we are confident will be more quickly and easily delivered than the proposed Greenhouse building.

The Directors of Peaceful Streams CIC would like to thank the many local people who have supported the project, and particularly the 1st Fetcham Scouts, St Mary’s Church, Greenwise, the Fetcham Residents Association, and our district and county councillors.

On behalf of the Directors, Peaceful Streams CIC Ltd:

Jamie Atkins

Andy Black

Sharon Black

Martin Roberts

Fraser Skirrow

For any enquiries relating for this announcement, please contact info@greenhousefetcham.com."

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