Sea Cadets project launch

Stonehaven and District Sea Cadets have launched an ambitious fundraising effort to provide new Headquarters for the Unit. The fundraising project was launched on May 24 and the next day, Unit Chairman, John Agnew, received a £10,000 donation from a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous.

The Unit has outgrown its current HQ in High Street, Stonehaven, which it has occupied since 1959 and the lease on the present HQ expires in 2017.

The present HQ has no potential for expansion and there is no possibility of providing the necessary disabled access.

The building is owned by Aberdeenshire Council and is leased for a “peppercorn rent”. The Unit is responsible for all maintenance costs.

From 2017, Audit Scotland will not allow the council to lease the property at a figure which bears no relation to market value and the Sea Cadets could not afford to pay an “economic rent.”

The Unit contracted to purchase a former warehouse on Marischal Street, Stonehaven in 2007 at a cost of £110,000. The Unit raised £65,000 by its own efforts and received an investment loan from a bank of £45,000 which has now been repaid.

The development of the new HQ has been professionally costed at £350,000 with a further £150,000 for fitting out the interior.

It is proposed to create a wholly-owned, modern, purpose-built HQ for the Sea Cadet Unit, which is also capable of providing facilities for wider community benefit. Planning permission for the redevelopment was granted in 2008.

In order to develop the new HQ and allow the relocation of the Unit, it will be necessary to strip the existing building back to its four walls, instal a new steel structure to support a new first floor and roof and instal a new ground floor, fire exits, lifts, toilets and other basic services.

This will cost £350,000 and if raised will mean that the project will succeed.

The internal fit out will be phased to fit with further funds raised and can also be assisted by professionally supervised volunteer labour.

Prior to instructing redevelopment, tenders will be invited and selected main contractors will be interviewed by Mr Agnew, a Town and Country Planning Agent and by Mr William Cowie, a Chartered Architect of many years standing.

Mr Cowie is a Trustee, thus the project will be managed in-house.

Other Trustees have professional experience in a variety of trades and this knowledge will also be utilised.

Also part of the professional team are McLeod and Aitken, Quantity Surveyors and W.A. Fairhurst & Partners, Strutural Engineers.

Stonehaven and District Sea Cadet Unit was formed in 1954. It currently operates with 50 cadets, 16 juniors aged 10 and 11 and 34 aged 12 to 18. There has been a waiting list of 40 since 2003 due to the lack of space in the current HQ.