Fight to save the Maxwell Park Centre, Borehamwood, at heated meeting

Borehamwood Times: Fight to save the Maxwell Park Centre: "It's a destruction" Fight to save the Maxwell Park Centre: "It's a destruction"

Campaigners today promised to fight the closure of a popular and well-loved community centre "to their last breath”.

The main hall of the Maxwell Park Community Centre, in Borehamwood, was packed as people made sure their voices were heard in the ongoing battle to save the building.

Under the Elstree Way Corridor plan, the centre - which celebrated its milestone 50th birthday last year - and the adjoining Guide Hut, could both be bulldozed and replaced with a school.

But today protestors said if this were given the green light, community groups including bowls, dance and disabled music clubs, would be forced to shut down.

Although Hertsmere Borough Council’s action plan suggests relocating the centre’s activities to the new 96 Shenley Road, campaigners feel it is an unsuitable alternative.

Leading the meeting was Chaya Robertson, of the B’nai Maccabin Synagouge, which meets at the centre every Saturday.

She said: “It’s a beloved centre. Why are we having to fight for its survival? It doesn’t make any sense.

“I have found Borehamwood to be a warm and loving community. We don’t want to back down, we need community support. We have to work together.”

Having attempted to make a booking at number 96, she said she found the system disorganised , claiming staff did not seem to know the rules.

She added it was clear the centre’s only hall is too cramped to fit enough people in, and the centre could not house numerous activities at the same time.

Another issue included the lack of parking around 96 - Ms Robertson herself said she was forced to park in Tesco - some five minutes away from the centre - when she dropped in to visit it.

She added: “It would be inconvenient. We’ve got a very good and strong argument for keeping this place.”

The consultation into the Elstree Way Corridor action plan ends on March 31, and people were urged to write letters in protest.

Drawing the audiences attention to the Elstree Way Action Plan, she highlighted discrepancies - as it states the site has been both “reserved” and “allocated” for a primary school.

It was suggested Kenilworth or Saffron Green could be expanded to accommodate a secondary school, and Conservative councillor Pat Strack said she was looking into these possibilities.

She told the meeting she feels Maxwell Park is an unsuitable location as it would involve building on the greenbelt.

"Any loss of the greenbelt would be a travesty," she added.

The Elstree and Borehamwood District Community Association also put an offer to buy the centre for community use last year.

Labour Hertfordshire county councillor Leon Reefe, who represents Borehamwood North, said: “It’s destruction - I will not tolerate this. I will fight it to my last breath.”

In a heated discussion, he also accused Cllr Strack and Cllr Sandra Parnell of not doing enough to fight for the centre.

But after the meeting, Cllr Parnell voiced her anger, saying: “He’s got no idea what goes on behind the scenes, but we can’t release anything as they’re not official chats.

“On Friday we spent two and a half hours talking this over with council leader Cllr Morris Bright - we are doing a lot.”

June Kempton told the Borehamwood Times: “We’re in limbo - we’ve got no idea what’s going on.

“There’s lots of discrepancies in the plan and that’s what we need to address.

“If this place goes, all of the clubs that run here will be forced to shut. We can’t let that happen.”

Comments (4)

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7:37pm Mon 24 Mar 14

ChayaR says...

Just a quick comment - today's meeting was in the lounge at Maxwell Park as the main hall was already in use, however the first meeting on this subject, which was held on a Friday evening WAS in the large hall and it was indeed also packed. The main - and most important - point which came out of today's meeting was that we ALL need to personally write (forms are available) to Hertsmere Borough Council by 5pm on 31st March to strongly oppose the move to close down the Centre. No point in complaining about what others may or may not do - stand up and be counted!
Just a quick comment - today's meeting was in the lounge at Maxwell Park as the main hall was already in use, however the first meeting on this subject, which was held on a Friday evening WAS in the large hall and it was indeed also packed. The main - and most important - point which came out of today's meeting was that we ALL need to personally write (forms are available) to Hertsmere Borough Council by 5pm on 31st March to strongly oppose the move to close down the Centre. No point in complaining about what others may or may not do - stand up and be counted! ChayaR
  • Score: 3

7:49pm Mon 24 Mar 14

ChayaR says...

Sorry - one more comment! I wasn't actually leading the meeting. It was very ably led by Chris Anderson, our Chair of our Community Centre Board. I was just giving a presentation.
Sorry - one more comment! I wasn't actually leading the meeting. It was very ably led by Chris Anderson, our Chair of our Community Centre Board. I was just giving a presentation. ChayaR
  • Score: 1

11:39pm Mon 24 Mar 14

watfordman says...

why dont hertsmere build more flats on the site we need more people and homes , bulldoze everything hertsmere borough council . were have a ghetto.
why dont hertsmere build more flats on the site we need more people and homes , bulldoze everything hertsmere borough council . were have a ghetto. watfordman
  • Score: -7

2:02pm Tue 25 Mar 14

save the wood says...

make your comments about the joke and lies of the area action plan to hertsmere by next monday. the destruction of the wood has already begun, start fighting to save some of the old wood.
make your comments about the joke and lies of the area action plan to hertsmere by next monday. the destruction of the wood has already begun, start fighting to save some of the old wood. save the wood
  • Score: 3

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