A VILLAGE scouts group has been ordered to vacate its hut after 50 years as the council prepares to put it on the market.

1st Gullane Scouts has used the hall since its current leader was a young boy in the East Lothian village and currently has 82 children in its group.

However, East Lothian Council has told the group it needs to move out of the building, which stores all its camping equipment, as well as giving it a base in the community.

The council says the hall costs over £6,000 a year to maintain, claiming £4,560 of that is caused by cleaning costs while it only receives an income of £826 from the Scouts to use it.

Scout leader Sam Cowie said: “The bulk of the cost the council says is caused by cleaning; our Scouts would clean it themselves if it helped us remain in the hall.”

Mr Cowie said that the group had been left with nowhere to store its equipment, including the camping gear, after the council said the Scouts had to clear out by the end of March.

The hall opened 50 years ago in the village after  a drive by then Scout leaders and youth group organisers to raise funds towards it.

It replaced a previous recreation hut which was originally opened by the Church of Scotland in 1916 as a canteen during the First World War but had to be demolished as part of a housing expansion.

The hut itself opened without fanfare, amid claims the local Labour councillors at the time wanted to distance themselves from any decision to invest in the upmarket village.

Mr Cowie said: “I was 10 when the hut opened and it just appeared without any opening ceremony or announcement.

“I was told later that the Labour council which was in place at the time did not make a fuss as they did not want to be seen to be putting money into Gullane.”

The local history society has a letter which was sent out before the hut was built by local Scout leaders and youth club organisers asking for help funding it.

The letter said: “The council have indicated that before reaching a final decision regarding a grant, local support for the scheme must be forthcoming.”

Last January, the hut was one of six council-owned facilities which were offered to local communities to take on themselves as community assets.

Now it is being marketed as a commercial lease after groups failed to make a successful bid for the hall.

A council spokesperson said: “We did not receive any expressions of interest for Gullane Recreation Hall from community groups so, after careful consideration, the building will be marketed for sale or lease.

“Members of our connected communities team will work with affected community groups regarding their future venue requirements.”