Bideford Sea Cadets will soon be able to enjoy the use of a new building in Victoria Park thanks to a town councillor salvaging a school’s former science block.
The town’s sea cadets have been using the same building since 1947 in Victoria Park, but for several years it has been dilapidated and leaking.
At a Bideford Town Council meeting last night it was agreed the council would provide nearly £30,000 for a new building to be brought to the town which has been used as the science block at Chulmleigh Community College.
Bideford town councillor Steve Clarke, who runs heavy plant hire company SEL Clarke, managed to secure the building for the town when the company was employed to remove the building from the school site.
The 80ft by 40ft building is no longer needed by Chulmleigh Community College because the college has just received a series of new buildings which will be opened officially in September.
To make the transfer happen Mr Clarke needed funding to transport the building from Chulmleigh to Bideford.
Mr Clarke confirmed at the town council meeting he had already secured £20,000 from Bideford Bridge Trust for the project, but needed a further £30,000.
He said: “I am salvaging the rest and could sell the building as part of the demolition contract, but I wanted to keep it for Bideford.”
Mr Clarke said the building would only need to be used two nights a week and at weekend by the cadets so could be used for other community uses at other times.
“This is a fantastic building and the cadets are prepared to manage it,” he said.
He added: “Their current building is on its last legs and considering it is in the middle of Victoria Park it is a bit of an embarrassment.
“This was a science block and it is virtually brand new, it could be used for things like Petroc teaching young families how to cook.
“The building includes a manager’s office, a galley, stores, toilets and showers as well as the main part of the building.”
Councillor Meryvn Langmead said: “I was a sea cadet myself and if they have been using the same building ever since it must be in a fair state.
“I congratulate Councillor Clarke.
Councillor Tony Inch added: “I congratulate Steve and what he is giving to the town is a lot. The sea cadets don’t get any support from the MOD.”
The town council clerk Heather Blackburn confirmed at the meeting if the council supported the project then the funds would be released from the town projects budget.
The councillors voted unanimously to give the funding to the sea cadets.
After the meeting Mr Clarke confirmed the demolition of the current building was carried out this week in preparation for the foundations, padstones and drains to be installed next week.
He added: “The sea cadets is my company chosen charity and currently I think there 26 cadets in Bideford. Hopefully that number will increase with the new building encouraging people to sign up.”
John Gluzman, 13, one of the cadets at the meeting said afterwards: “We are very happy, the current building looks really run down and there are holes in the roof.
“Hopefully we will get more cadets joining now.”
The new building is scheduled to be craned into place on August 27.