Hertswood Academy and Ark Theatre could be bulldozed under Elstree Corridor plans (From Borehamwood Times)
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Hertswood Academy and Ark Theatre could be bulldozed under Elstree Corridor plans
Proposals to bulldoze Hertswood Academy and the multi-million pound Ark Theatre were discussed at a council meeting.
Under plans to redevelop the Elstree Way Corridor, the Thrift Farm Lane high school could be demolished and merged with the the lower school site in Cowley Hill.
The Ark Theatre, which opened in 2009 and cost £1.9m to build, could also be knocked down.
While there have been no formal applications, school governors have entered discussions about knocking down the site.
Councillor Harvey Cohen told the meeting: “A new school in place of the upper site could be a school to be proud of, and would leave a legacy in Borehamwood.
“The Ark is not for closing down, it will not be demolished. But if we get plans for a new school, they will put in a new and even better theatre - we'll make sure it survives.”
Governor Graham Taylor said the school was originally built for 2,000 students - but it currently only has 1,300.
More than 800 new homes will be built on the Elstree Way Corridor over the next few years to meet the Government's targets.
Hundreds attended two meetings at the civic offices tonight to discuss the plans, which many fear will turn Borehamwood into an “overpopulated slum”.
But with hundreds of new people moving into the borough, the council has recognised the need for new schools in the area.
There have been talks about demolishing the well-loved Maxwell Park Community Centre, in Maxwell Drive, Borehamwood, and the nearby Guide hut, to replace them with a school.
One resident asked the council why the Maxwell Park centre had to be demolished when Hertswood's school was underused.
Cllr Cohen told the meeting: “Some parts of the site are not usable for a 21st century school.”
The Maxwell Park centre has been the centre of a huge campaign to save it from closure and in April, it was given a one-year reprieve.
David Carlisle was involved in building the guide hut in the 70s.
He said: "It's something we're proud of. The social stability of this is that guides go on to be good mothers. We need to preserve this."
Cllr Sandra Parnell assured the meeting: "I promise you, you will see a fight for that guide hut, you will see it stay. We're all in this together".
However, there have not been any formal decisions to demolish the community centre or the guide hut and their fate is still up in the air.
The decision over whether to build a school on the site will ultimately lie with Hertfordshire County Council and not Hertsmere Borough Council.
And while a new community centre at 96 Shenley Road will provide space for groups and clubs to meet - there are no plans to allow the Girl Guides to meet there.
Council leader Morris Bright said consideration will be taken before deciding whether to demolish the sites.
He said: “We can’t go round building things willy nilly.”
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