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Scouts claim TV makeover left their new hut a 'shambles'
Buy this photo » Gary Thorne inside the Scout hut where water leaks into the building Pictures: OX53987 Antony Moore
SCOUTS have been forced to meet outdoors after a TV makeover show left their headquarters an “unusable shambles”.
Scout leaders have appealed for help from the community to finish off a list of 100 jobs.
The building off Lashford Lane, in Dry Sandford – home to the 24th Abingdon Scouts – was supposed to have been spruced up for new Channel Five television show Operation Homefront.
The show, which is presented by Suzi Perry, pictured , sees groups of ex-servicemen transform projects struggling with manpower.
A team from the programme carried out the work over four days at the beginning of August and is set to air the programme next month.
But it seems the team may have taken on more than they bargained for when they offered to demolish the old 1940s building, then move and renovate the Scouts’ ‘terrapin’ huts nearby.
Problems with the roof have left water leaking through the ceiling when it rains.
Some electrics are unboxed and plumbing is not completed.
Two of the three showers have not been fitted.
The building’s fire exits have no steps leading down from them and instead visitors to the hut look down on a two foot drop into rubble.
The group, which has about 25 members, came back from their summer break this week but were unable to use the building and met at the nearby nature reserve. Scout leader David Grimes said the hut was unusable.
He said: “Fair enough they have achieved more in four days than we could in weeks, but we can’t use it as it is.
“It is a shambles.”
Perry, who has hosted The Gadget Show and the BBC’s MotoGP coverage tweeted during the renovation: “The Scout hut rebuild is chugging along but we definitely took on a bit too much.”
Last night NorthOne TV, which produces the show, provided a comment which was attributed to Julie Mansbridge, secretary of the 24th Abingdon Scout Group.
It said: “We are hugely grateful for Operation Homefront’s renovation.
“They achieved in four days what would have taken us four years in terms of workload and tens of thousands in financial assistance.”
A spokesman for NorthOne TV added: “One of the Scout leaders went as far as saying the original hut was lucky not to have been condemned – and the whole place amounted to ‘a prayer that needed answering’.
“We brought in what amounted to tens of thousands of pounds worth of materials and manpower, as well as the complex project management behind it.
“There is always going to be what’s called a ‘finishing list’ of jobs which need to be completed when you undertake something of this scale – but the substance of what was achieved was phenomenal.”
When asked whether they would be returning to fix the problems, the spokesman said: “We are in constant contact with Julie and will continue to help them on a few jobs which need finishing.
“We agreed what we would do to the Scout hut and we feel we have delivered on it.”
It is understood there was no agreement on the timescale of the work.