On Friday 9th December a planning application was submitted for a new Head Quarters for the Guides at Westbridge Park. The application can be viewed on the Borough councils planning portal – planning ref 16/25394/FUL and the proposal is to construct the new building where the skate park currently is.
The application for a new Guide Head Quarters is expected to go before the planning committee in the new year. Subject to receiving the approved planning permission, the ground works would start late in January 2017, with the Guides moving in to their new building in the spring 2017.
The current Guides HQ at Westbridge Park is being lost as part of the proposed Marks & Spencer development. The new single-storey Guides building will be a significant upgrade on the old HQ and will have an entrance lobby, meeting room, large hall, storage area, kitchen and toilets, including disabled facilities. The skate park that’s going to have to make way for the new building is being relocated as part of the proposed upgrade to leisure facilities at the park.
The plans for the new building have been welcomed by Sheila Slaney, the Stone & Eccleshall Girlguiding Division Commissioner. A meeting was held at the existing Guide hut on 1 December to show them the plans and to get their feedback. Sheila said:
It will make a tremendous difference to our Division to have a brand new purpose built building in which to hold our Unit meetings, trainings and events. The new building will provide a solid foundation on which we can build the future development and long term plans for the Division. An added bonus will be that the new building will be more economical to run enabling us to save on our current overheads.
Finances are never easy when an organisation such as ours has to rely entirely on fundraising and donations.
We are so very grateful that this opportunity has presented itself which also enables us to stay on Westbridge Park which has been the home of our headquarters for the past fifty years.
Westbridge Park also allows our girls an open space to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities and most importantly to have fun.
Our present building has been loved and cherished by all the girls and leaders who have passed through its doors over the years and I know that the new building will be equally loved and cherished by present and future girls and leaders.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity made even more special as this year we celebrated a 100 years of Guiding in Stone.
Patrick Farrington, Stafford Borough Council Leader, added:
“I’m delighted there has been such a positive response from the Guides to the plans for their new base. I know they’re really looking forward to moving in if planning permission is granted for the new building, which is one part of our exciting plans for Westbridge Park.”