THE future of the Longridge Scout Boating Centre could be looking up after the Scout Association threw it a "lifejacket".

The water activity centre in Quarry Wood Road, Marlow, had until this September to raise the £500,000 it needs to buy the freehold of the site from the Scout Association. But, following negotiations, the trust has been given a year-long extension in which to raise the cash.

So far only £263,000 has been collected.

However, Amanda Foister, marketing manager at Longridge, warned that this "lifejacket" has put the campaign in a Catch 22 situation because it could destroy Sir William Borlase's School's plans of building a new boathouse at Longridge as soon as possible.

She said: "It is good news because it means we can definitely save Longridge now and keep it going but it's a double-edged sword because if we can't complete the freehold by the end of this year then Sir William Borlase's Grammar School cannot start building their boathouse and they need somewhere to leave their boats. It might even have to go back to its original plan of building a boathouse on the other side of the river."

Sir William Borlase's is currently basing its rowing activities at Longridge to show its support for the centre but as a result it is having to leave its boats out in the open air.

The school in West Street, Marlow, hopes to build a boat club at Longridge for all schools to use but it cannot begin to raise money for this project until the freehold is secured.

Richard Bedingfield, who coaches the Borlase rowing club, said: "We cannot go out and raise cash unless we have a site to sink it in. Our boats are in the open air at the moment which is OK because it's a dry year. But we are concerned about how we are going to work through the winter."

A total of £1.5million is needed in order to completely buy the site and a further £3.5million is needed to spruce up the centre with new changing rooms, bathrooms and lecture room facilities.

Sir William Borlase's School plans to be included in this £3.5million redevelopment project.

The centre was acquired by the Friends of Longridge trust after the Scout Association said it would be pulling out.