Work to start on new guides base

GUIDE groups are looking forward to meeting in a new purpose-built hut by the end of the year.

Building work for a new Girlguiding headquarters in Conduit Road, Stamford, is due to start on Monday, more than five years after leaders first submitted their plans to the council.

The existing wooden hut was closed in 2006 on health and safety grounds, forcing a number of rainbow, brownie and guide groups to find new homes.

Since then a team of volunteer leaders from the Welland Valley division of Girlguiding have submitted a string of planning applications to South Kesteven District Council for a new headquarters.

They have faced a number of setbacks, in particular when a housing developer pulled out of buying some of the land.

But planning permission has finally been granted and half of the site has been sold to free up £80,000 to build the new centre, which will include a function room, toilets, kitchen and storage facilities.

Welland Valley district commissioner Jan Dummigan said leaders have been waiting for this for years.

She said: “I can’t wait for the work to start. This is something we have wanted to achieve for a long time so everyone is really excited that it is finally happening.

“It will be so nice for us to have our own base in the community for meetings, training and special events.”

The 15 groups in the Welland Valley division are spread across Stamford, Wittering, Ryhall and Ketton.

Since the hut closed, some of them have had to find new meeting places and storage areas.

It hasn’t been decided how many of the groups will return to the base in Conduit Road, which is expected to be open by the end of the year.

The centre will also be available for community groups to hire, with the proceeds helping to secure its financial future.

Mrs Dummigan said: “We’ll definitely be organising some kind of celebration when the work is done and I’d like to reinstate events like our summer and Christmas fairs.

It seems like it has taken us forever to get to this stage but we are looking forward to getting our new hut at last.”