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Council marks Winn Everett Guide HQ in Maxwell Road as possible school site
A Guide hut could be knocked down and be replaced with a new primary school, if county council proposals are given the go ahead.
Hertsmere Borough Council has said Hertfordshire County Council has earmarked Winn Everett Guide Headquarters in Maxwell Road in Borehamwood as a good site to accommodate the extra children set to come into Borehamwood.
The possibility along with demolishing Maxwell Park Community Centre, was raised in a set of frequently asked questions issued ahead of next week’s public meeting on the Elstree Way Corridor Area Action Plan.
June Kimpton, secretary of Maxwell Park Community Centre, said seeing the hall mentioned in this document was the first anyone had heard about the proposals.
She said: “Obviously we’re up in arms about it, we knew nothing about it. The Guides own this building and it is not supposed to be touched.
"It seems ridiculous they should put a school here when there are other perfectly good schools which they’re knocking down to build houses.”
Guide leader Audrey Todd said knocking down the Guide hut might mean the end of guiding in Borehamwood.
She said: “We’re all getting on a bit and it would be hard for us to start up again.
“But I think it will be a long time before anything happens. We own the hut, we raised the money to build it in 1975 and pay a peppercorn rent to the borough council who owns the land, so they can’t knock it down before building a new one.
“All we can do is wait until next week’s meeting and see what happens then.”
Councillor Pat Strack, who represents Kenilworth ward, has launched a petition asserting the Guide hut belongs to the community and should not be sold to the county council for development.
The petition also states Maxwell Park would be unsuitable for a school because of the traffic problems and lack of outdoor facilities.
She said: “I urge as many people as possible to sign. We have to stand up for our community. Our councillors are working for our community, please help them by showing you care.”
Councillor Ann Harrison said she was fully behind fighting to save the Guide hut, but said as a Conservative councillor, Cllr Strack should go to her group leader Morris Bright and make her objections felt.
She added: “This has come out of the blue. We all knew Maxwell Park Community Centre was at risk because it is slap bang in the middle of the site, but the Guide hut is tucked in a far corner and has its own access. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Councillor Harvey Cohen, who holds responsibility for planning, said no decision had been made on the future of the hut.
He said: “The county council has said this might be a good site were a school to be needed. But the Elstree Way Corridor Area Action Plan, of which this is part, has not even had its second consultation yet and there are no definite plans.
“We need to make plans for the infrastructure that will be needed when more houses are built. I’m sure parents would care more about there being enough school places and there aren’t that many sites left to build on that aren’t green belt land.
“But this petition shows us how important the Guide hut is to the people of Borehamwood, and makes it even more important that, if a primary school were to be built there, it would be open to the community.”
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