Part of council's action plan for Ark Theatre is 'misleading and ambiguous', councillor admits (From Borehamwood Times)
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Hertsmere Borough Council's action plan for the Ark Theatre is 'misleading' Cllr Harvey Cohen admits
A senior councillor says part of Hertsmere Borough Council’s plan for the future of the Ark Theatre only relates to what would happen in an “ideal world”.
Two weeks ago, the Borehamwood & Elstree Times reported the Thrift Farm Lane, Borehamwood, theatre could not be demolished until a new one is built.
It has since come to light this was wrong - but a draft consultation document on site allocation says the theatre will be replaced “immediately”.
To add to confusion Councillor Harvey Cohen, who is responsible for planning and localism, confirmed people could wait up to two years for a permanent replacement of the Ark Theatre when it is demolished.
He said: “It is a technical matter. The document is still factually accurate, but yes, I do agree it is misleading and ambiguous.
“It relates to what would happen in an ideal world, where there would be no gap. But we’ve got to be realistic here - we won’t be able to replace the theatre immediately.
“However, we are committed to minimising the period of closure. We will make sure the gap is as pain free as possible and no groups go under as a result of this.”
Hertswood Academy and the Ark Theatre, which lie on the same street, will be torn down to make way for housing before they are relocated to Hertswood School’s lower site, in Cowley Hill.
The plan forms part of a wider scheme to build 2,500 new houses in Hertsmere over the next ten years.
While the document is currently up for consultation until April 14, the error has prompted angry neighbours to demand more time to respond.
Lawrence Stack, a committee member of Borehamwood & Elstree Residents Association, said: “It’s atrocious. It’s a completely misleading sentence and we want it corrected.
“People won’t write in if they think the theatre will be replaced straight away. The whole thing is a complete mess - they need to get their act together.”
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