The Words of the Read Family

Letter From Tim Read About Cleeve House

Tim Read
June 9, 2004

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for your input re Cleeve House; there were many different opinions expressed, and I’m grateful for that input. I was however, disappointed with the overall response – out of 300 letters sent out, there were only 60 responses.

As you will see below, I had a meeting with some people who had specific proposals, and we (the finance committee) will wait for a month for them to research and create a detailed restoration, finance, and re-use plan. If the plan is approved we will publish it at the Annual General Meeting on July 3rd at 2pm in Lancaster Gate, to which you are all invited. If not, we will have to consider selling Cleeve.

Assuming all goes well, we will then go through a phased restoration programme, which will finally be assessed for its viability by an agreed date, perhaps after 1˝ or 2 years, and if all is progressing as to plan then, we will continue on to completion. If not, then we will have to re-consider Cleeve’s future.

It’s been a long slog to find a solution, but I feel we’re getting there!

God bless,
ITPN Tim Read

Report on Cleeve House
By Barbara Zaccarelli

Following the response to the questionnaire sent out by our national Leader, Mr. Tim Read, a meeting was called at Hossil Lane, Stanton Fitzwarren, to listen to the proposals for Cleeve House, of those who had contacted him. Richard and Rosie Beazer warmly welcomed the sixteen people who attended the meeting. The spirit of the meeting was a positive working one.

To commence, Mr. Read gave a general introduction in which he recognized that many of us feel that Cleeve House is our heritage. It carries historic value and the sincere investment of brothers and sisters over the years. He reminded us that for many years no one has been able to produce an idea that could be implemented. Ideas, which involved building on the land, had been turned down because of planning permission and so on. He also said that at this time, when we are so much in need of funds to develop our movement, perhaps the value of the property could be better invested elsewhere, this is why he had sought the report from a commercial advisor. The meetings in Lancaster Gate and the questionnaire, as well as this meeting, were all to help in making this important decision.

Some of our brothers, who have experience in building work and others with knowledge about property, put a plan together. Carlo Zaccarelli presented it.

It was called the Joshua and Caleb report! The basis of the idea comes from the offers of our members to give their professional time and also their unskilled help towards the restoration and development of our property. This will cut the cost by 75%. There has also been generous offers of financial help from our members. There needs to be a management team to include a project director, a building manager, a treasurer, fund-raising manager, a marketing manager and a landscape manager.

The restoration work needed was divided into three stages. The first stage, deals with the health and safety requirements, then the house could begin to be used again. This could be completed before the end of August.

The next stage concerns the long-term care, maintenance. The final stage is the commercial development of the property.

The report suggests that we should set up a pilot project of bed and breakfast with just three rooms initially. This could be developed as a way to produce an income in the periods when there are no workshops. Workshops themselves need to generate more income by charging fair prices, which will be justified by improved facilities. Those who are now looking elsewhere for their workshop accommodation can see the real price charged by scout camps and other locations. We can support Cleeve House the most when we pay the correct fees for our stay there, which are in line with other similar establishments. If we want Cleeve House to function when we need it, we will have to support it. At the close of the meeting, Mr. Read appointed Carlo Zaccarelli as the Project Director and Ed Stacey as the Building Manager. The team will start work right away on the schedule and detailed plan of the work. Andy Johnson will coordinate offers of help. The decision to sell or not has still not been made but is on hold until these plans are completed.

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