A mother says the county council has “under-estimated” the importance of a clinic after it was announced it would be shutting down one of its services.

Hertfordshire County Council says it will no longer continue running the family planning clinic in Elstree Way, Borehamwood, after January, citing a lack of staff as the reason.

Tammy Roper, who has been involved in the clinic since she was a teenager, says it came as a “shock” when she found out earlier this month it would be closing.

Ms Roper, 44, who lives in Borehamwood said: “This place is really going to be missed. The clinic is invaluable to women and young girls. It is a place where they go and they know it will be confidential.

“Sometimes, you can’t to talk to your parents about concerns you may have but at the family planning clinic, you can. They have under-estimated the importance of the clinic.”

The mother of two says she was at the clinic with her 17-year-old daughter when she found out the news.

The clinic currently offers a free two-hour session, and recently attracted around 40 visitors.

The clinic provides a series of sexual health services as well as a chance to talk to someone one-to-one.

After the closure was announced, the Hertsmere Labour party said: “We are appalled to hear about the sudden closure of the clinic with no advance notice or alternative provision. We have demanded an explanation. This mirrors the recent sudden closure of the Borehamwood blood testing clinic and strengthens our concern about the deterioration of local health provision.”

Hertsmere MP, who has been in talks with the Clinical Commissioning Group, says he has “secured a commitment” for a new “health hub” in Elstree Way, but details are still to be finalised.

Following the closure of the family planning clinic, a spokeswoman for Hertfordshire County Council said: “Unfortunately, due to being unable to fill vacancies and keep the service at required safe levels of staffing, we have agreed to close the two-hour per week ‘contraception only’ clinic. This will come into effect at the end of January.

“Our provider service (Sexual Health Hertfordshire) will be consulting the public on the changes and supporting them to find alternative provision. As this is a two-hour clinic the number of patients accessing the service is relatively low. Provision will be maintained as the same contraceptives are available from the local GP, or from the nearest sexual health clinics in Potters Bar and Watford.”

Other services at Elstree Way Clinic are not affected.