Anger is growing at an “incomprehensible" decision to exclude a Scouts group from their purpose-built building without any explanation. 

Former members and politicians have said they are “devastated” at the decision and can't understand why the 1st Newton Aycliffe Scouts were given just 28 days notice to leave the premises.

The Newton Aycliffe Scout Supporters Association (NASSA) building, on Bluebell Way, was established more than 40 years ago after a lengthy community fundraising effort.

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The Northern Echo: NASSA Social Club and Scout Centre, Newton Aycliffe.

Concerns have been raised by the town's MP, himself a former scout leader, and the matter is to be raised at a Great Aycliffe Town Council meeting. Relatives of members involved in building the hall four decades ago have also condemned the move as efforts continue to shed some light on the reasons behind the decision.

The group were told on August 1 that they had just 28 days to leave the NASSA building.

Following the notice, former NASSA members attempted to overturn the decision by renewing their membership in hopes of forcing an extraordinary meeting – but applications were reportedly rejected by the committee.

Scout leaders say they have also been denied a hearing on the matter.

The Scouts said they are “disappointed” by the decision of the committee and have relocated to the town's nearby Navy Club in the menatime.

A social media post reads: “We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the committee to give us notice to leave the premises, especially when, in our opinion, it has not been done in line with the constitution.

“Not only do they not have 'good and sufficient reason' as required, but they have not allowed us our right to a hearing.

“We have written to the management committee asking them to let us know on what grounds they have come to this decision, as well as requesting the hearing specified in the constitution, but the only response we have had is to confirm that the decision stands and to remove our property from the building by the deadline they have given or the locks will be changed.

“We are very grateful to the members of Newton Aycliffe Scout Supporters Association for their support over the years and very much hope that this can be resolved quickly and amicably.”

Former Scout in Newton Aycliffe and current MP for Sedgefield, Paul Howell, has also condemned the decision, calling it an “incomprehensible state of affairs”.

He said: “When I first heard, I wrote to the committee asking to meet. This was declined saying the decision had been taken and was final. I then advised them that as an ex-scout I was going to join the association to make sure I understood what was happening.

“I then turned up on Saturday to join and was advised they are not accepting members. I therefore left my membership form and payment at the bar.

“I was a Scout leader at the time the hall was built, and the clear intent was for the association to support the Scouts and any action contrary to this should be fully explained to the membership and not taken without any transparent debate by the management committee.”

Glenn Rutter is one current member who has spoken out. Glenn joined the Scouts when he was just seven-years-old, his father, John Rutter, was a founding member of the association and his mother, Jean, a former member of the committee.

For him, the news that the Scouts have been removed from their home after many years is simply “devastating”.

He added: “My dad was the treasurer of the association for about 20 years, he gave so much of his time to the Scouts.

“My mother too - she put in so much work over the years and it wasn’t easy. After all of that hard work, to see the Scouts removed is devastating to me.”

The Northern Echo:

Local politicians have also become involved, including Councillor Neville Jones, son of John Jones, the man who had the initial idea of building the centre to be the Scouts forever home.

Cllr Jones, of Durham County Council, said: “The centre took a lot of effort to fundraise for and to build, and it was built for the sole purpose of being for the good of all Scouts.

“The idea that we are now excluding some Scouts from a Scout building is totally unacceptable.”

Fellow councillor, Arun Chandran, chairman of the policy and resources committee on Great Aycliffe Town Council has confirmed the issue has been added to the agenda of the next council meeting.

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He said: “The whole purpose of the Scout Hall is to serve as a venue for activities by Scout groups, and all councillors and our MP have very serious concerns about what appears to be happening - especially as the management committee of the Newton Aycliffe Scout Supporters Association has failed to respond to any enquiries.

“I have placed an item on our Agenda for Wednesday, September 13 and invited the public to attend and address the council about this matter, so we can shed some light on what is happening at the Scout Hall and its management committee and seek to resolve the matter amicably.

“I have no doubt that councillors and our MP regard this as a vital part of our community, and will want to take all steps necessary to restore the situation."

The Newton Aycliffe Scout Supporters Association (NASSA) has been contacted for comment.