Hertsmere Borough Council's action plan for the Ark Theatre is 'misleading' Cllr Harvey Cohen admits

Part of council's action plan for Ark Theatre is 'misleading and ambiguous', councillor admits

Lawrence Stack

Cllr Harvey Cohen

First published in News
Last updated
Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

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.”

Comments (5)

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5:14pm Wed 9 Apr 14

save the wood says...

we will make sure no groups go under as a result of this, you would be very lucky over that period of no groups finishing up over the closure. the same as if maxwell hall goes the death to a lot of groups and a leisure facility to the wood. the lies of the area action plan to the people of the wood from councillor cohen and hertsmere council
we will make sure no groups go under as a result of this, you would be very lucky over that period of no groups finishing up over the closure. the same as if maxwell hall goes the death to a lot of groups and a leisure facility to the wood. the lies of the area action plan to the people of the wood from councillor cohen and hertsmere council save the wood
  • Score: 2

6:46pm Wed 9 Apr 14

TFEB says...

They need to find a company who can knock down and build a new theatre overnight.
They need to find a company who can knock down and build a new theatre overnight. TFEB
  • Score: 2

9:26am Thu 10 Apr 14

pwelsh says...

i am only a simple person but i find to hard to understand a sentence that states something is accurate whilst being misleading and ambigous ? can a fact be a fact whilst at the same time misleading and did nobody read thru their own report before publishing it ?
i am only a simple person but i find to hard to understand a sentence that states something is accurate whilst being misleading and ambigous ? can a fact be a fact whilst at the same time misleading and did nobody read thru their own report before publishing it ? pwelsh
  • Score: 2

11:14am Thu 10 Apr 14

Palma21 says...

Why can't we have a proper theatre ? A community theatre is no good for a town this size and with Borehamwood having 60% of future development over the rest of the borough this should be a priority for this fast growing community. Smaller towns such as Radlett and Potters Bar have dedicated theatres. The money that developers have to pay the council should help to contribute to the cost instead of being spent on piddly little projects. I wouldn't be surprised that these monies are spent in the rest of the borough rather than where the development is actually taking place. Instead of a school where the Maxwell Centre is, which would add to the chaos at peak times, a theatre would be ideal with attached facilities for existing groups.
Why can't we have a proper theatre ? A community theatre is no good for a town this size and with Borehamwood having 60% of future development over the rest of the borough this should be a priority for this fast growing community. Smaller towns such as Radlett and Potters Bar have dedicated theatres. The money that developers have to pay the council should help to contribute to the cost instead of being spent on piddly little projects. I wouldn't be surprised that these monies are spent in the rest of the borough rather than where the development is actually taking place. Instead of a school where the Maxwell Centre is, which would add to the chaos at peak times, a theatre would be ideal with attached facilities for existing groups. Palma21
  • Score: 2

12:53pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Frank Ward says...

This deception perpetrated on our community and exposed by the efforts of Lawrence Stack , thanks to excellent coverage by the Boreham Wood Times will not prove to be an earth shattering experience for many people who have held serious reservations regarding the integrity and motives of others responsible for the project planning and execution of this programme.
During a meeting of Elstree and Boreham Wood Residents Association in January this year nearly thirty minutes of that public meeting was commandeered with the approval of the Chairman, to enable Graham Taylor, Chairman of the school governors to deliver plausible testimony in favour of the programme adopted to demolish the Ark Theatre and relocate to the temporary school accommodation.
However, during that presentation in response to questions from members of the public relating to the provision of an alternative Theatre and funding to promote this within the community, Mr Taylor claimed the school would be unable to offer any financial assistance of any description for a future Theatre.
Mr Taylor continued to reassure those present that any financial assistance would be obtained from Hertsmere Borough Council which was currently subsidising both Willets Manor and Radlett Theatre.
There was no intervention or comment by Councillor Cohen who was present at the meeting to repudiate thisclaim.
However, this statement has now been exposed as being patently untrue and deliberately misleading.
A Freedom of Information application registered by UKIP with Hertsmere Borough Council has revealed that no financial funding of any description is received by either the Willets Manor or Radlett Theatre.
This revelation that funding will not be available from any source when translated within the economic reality of the Council's current struggle to cope with a 45% reduction in grants from the Conservative Government in Westminster will only add credence to the tactical admission of Councillor Cohen in preparing the community of Elstree and Boreham Wood for the stark reality of the real world of political deception.
Frank Ward
Chairman
Hertsmere UKIP
This deception perpetrated on our community and exposed by the efforts of Lawrence Stack , thanks to excellent coverage by the Boreham Wood Times will not prove to be an earth shattering experience for many people who have held serious reservations regarding the integrity and motives of others responsible for the project planning and execution of this programme. During a meeting of Elstree and Boreham Wood Residents Association in January this year nearly thirty minutes of that public meeting was commandeered with the approval of the Chairman, to enable Graham Taylor, Chairman of the school governors to deliver plausible testimony in favour of the programme adopted to demolish the Ark Theatre and relocate to the temporary school accommodation. However, during that presentation in response to questions from members of the public relating to the provision of an alternative Theatre and funding to promote this within the community, Mr Taylor claimed the school would be unable to offer any financial assistance of any description for a future Theatre. Mr Taylor continued to reassure those present that any financial assistance would be obtained from Hertsmere Borough Council which was currently subsidising both Willets Manor and Radlett Theatre. There was no intervention or comment by Councillor Cohen who was present at the meeting to repudiate thisclaim. However, this statement has now been exposed as being patently untrue and deliberately misleading. A Freedom of Information application registered by UKIP with Hertsmere Borough Council has revealed that no financial funding of any description is received by either the Willets Manor or Radlett Theatre. This revelation that funding will not be available from any source when translated within the economic reality of the Council's current struggle to cope with a 45% reduction in grants from the Conservative Government in Westminster will only add credence to the tactical admission of Councillor Cohen in preparing the community of Elstree and Boreham Wood for the stark reality of the real world of political deception. Frank Ward Chairman Hertsmere UKIP Frank Ward
  • Score: 0

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