Controversial plans for New Mill Social Centre delayed by councillors

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thegazette@jpress.co.uk

A controversial plan to demolish a social centre and replace it with six houses was delayed last night against the advice of borough council planning officers.

The officers had said that permission for the plans as they stand should be granted.

But the meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee heard that the clubs using New Mill Social Centre had paid out to replace its roof, windows and boiler.

They also paid for the building to be fully insured before it was shut last year by its owner, Tring Team Parish.

The meeting heard that the clubs who used it now have to meet in venues as far afield as Puttenham, Long Marston and Little Gaddesden.

Tring Team Parish says that one of the new homes would be used by a chaplain for Tring School.

But councillor Denise Rance said the school already has a chaplain called Jane who lives with her husband Hew Bellis, rector of Tring Team Parish.

For the applicant, Ian Munroe said the pair live in Station Road, but she is working at the school on a voluntary basis until a permanent chaplain can be found.

Mr Munroe said the church had 200 signatures of support fit its application, adding: “The building in question has come to the end of its useful life.”

Councillors voted to delay their decision on whether planning permission for the homes should be granted.

In the meantime, their officers will explore what can be done to improve the current hall and what alternative provision has been provided for the people who used it.

They will also seek to renegotiate S106 money provided to the council by Tring Team Parish in compensation for the loss of the hall.