A dispute has erupted in Borehamwood following the announcement by a town council that it will be twinning with a Chinese city.

The Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council revealed last week it will be twinning with a city in China, despite the town already having a twin town association.

Concerns have been raised over how the town council will be able to afford regular trips to Huainan a city with a population of two million compared to Borehamwood’s which has 31,065.

Martine Eni, chairman of the Elstree and Borehamwood Twin Town Association (BETTA), said it costs people about £250 to visit the two towns now but she is unsure how much it would cost people of Borehamwood to go to China.

She said: “People of the town cannot afford this price to China. We go to France and Germany twice a year sometimes.

“The Twin Town Association is not getting involved with the town council’s decision.

“They approached us in the past but we said people could not afford it and we left it there.

“It is about being realistic. People in the town simply cannot afford trips to China.”

Currently Borehamwood is twinned with Offenburg in Germany and Fontenay-aux-Roses in France.

A Chinese Twin Town working group was set up in 2013 but when Labour Cllr Richard Butler was Mayor in 2015 the group was disbanded because the scheme had failed.

During the full council meeting last Wednesday it was decided by a majority that the twinning with Huainan would go ahead.

Cllr Butler said: “We kept having the working group but I put it to bed because the scheme was not going forward.

“However when the Mayor changed and Clive Butchins took over the working group was set up again.

“An emergency general meeting committee (GMC) for the town council was called to discuss this scheme in December.

“A GMC is the second biggest meeting except for the full council and you are only allowed to call them once a year the council sits.

“I was called to the meeting for this as the council was scared they were going to lose this town in China.

“The Labour Party and other people were against this twinning as the council did not have any information.

There are a lot of answers that have not been answered.”

However, Cllr Butler asked who would be funding the trips and the council said there would be some sponsorships but they have not been fully agreed yet.

Cllr Butler said: “Some of the businesses who have been approached are not all from Borehamwood and do not have links with town.

“The council has said it will not be a twinned town but instead a ‘sister town’ which for me is the exact same. I am all for creating business links for the town but I do not agree with a twinning.”

During the meeting it was noted that Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden and Cllr Morris Bright, council leader supported the idea.

The council also revealed the cost the project would be a ‘sister town partnership’ rather than a twin town.

The cost to the taxpayer for the project was revealed to be zero. Links would also be forged between universities and film studios.

The working group is scheduled to meet on January 23 in order to arrange for a public presentation on the sister town arrangement at the annual parish meeting on March 8.

How do you feel about this new ‘sister town’? Comment below or email steven.brown@london.newsquest.co.uk.