Youth chaplain plan puts future of clubs in doubt

31/5/2011'New Mill Social Centre, Tring

31/5/2011'New Mill Social Centre, Tring

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GROUPS who use a hall that serves the community will have to find new homes if plans to use the site to house a youth chaplain get the go-ahead.

Tring Team Parish plans to demolish New Mill Social Centre if the proposal gets permission from the Diocese of St Albans.

A new building would then be put up in its place to house a chaplain to serve at Tring School on Mortimer Hill.

But groups using the building, which has been on Bulbourne Road in Tring for almost a century, are unhappy about the plans.

Neville Ward, membership secretary of the War Games club, said it has used the centre for more than 30 years and is already searching for a new home.

He said: “It is a concern because we may not be able to find a hall which is the right sort, the right size and they may already have bookings on a Friday night.

“We may have to not only move place, but move day, which some of the group may find inconvenient.

“It will come as an upheaval.”

Members of a whist drive club, which hosts up to 40 mainly elderly members every Thursday night, are also worried about the plans for the hall, which is used most days and nights of the week.

Reverend Huw Bellis, from Tring Team Parish, said the committee that runs the centre found it is no longer viable to use the building for groups in the town.

He said: “The amount of work and maintenance they would need and the amount of rental income just is not going to see it forward.

“We are looking to how we can provide something different for the town and what we can do for the area.

“What we hope to do is to provide someone to work at Tring School and that would require a house.

“If we cannot do that we would look to provide it for someone from the youth ministry.”

Mr Bellis said discussions have been taking place between the parish, Tring School and the St Albans Diocesan Board of Education. He said: “It would certainly be a very good way of servicing the community because the kind of needs there are at the school cover all areas of life.

“It is quite exciting that there are possibilities to do something for the people of Tring and take forward a good resource in a different way.”

Mr Bellis said the plans are in the early stages because the parish team needs permission from the Diocese of St Albans.

He said: “We are looking at how we can use the site to further the ministry the church provides now the hall has come to the end of its life.

“We would like to express how grateful we are to the committee for running it and making it available to the community. We have provided it free of rent for them to do that.”

He added: “There are some local groups that will be very difficult to rehouse.

“We would want to make sure everyone was able to be rehoused. There are quite a lot of other halls in the area.”

Mr Bellis said the site used to house St George’s Church until it was dismantled in the early 1980s, leaving only the hall.

> Is your club one of those affected by the plans? Let us know, email editorial@hemelgazette.co.uk