‘It’s time for New Mill to look to the future’

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After an intense backlash from people angry about losing their social centre, the Tring Team Parish wants to look to the future and work with the community.

Church leader Rev Huw Bellis and his wife Jane Bannister are keen to find out how the church can help with activities and wants to turn around what has been a negative issue into something positive.

Mr Bellis said: “What took place for the Paralympic torch is what the church is about. We need the right and appropriate place to have activities rather than trying to maintain an old wooden shed.”

Last year social centre users launched a campaign to save the 100-year-old facility when they were told of the plans to knock it down to make way for a home for a chaplain for Tring School.

Many feared demolishing the hall would be the final nail in the coffin for the area and some lashed out with angry comments at the church as well as at Mr Bellis and Mrs Bannister.

A planning application for the new development is about to be submitted at a time when some members of the community are still reeling that New Mill Social Centre was sacrificed for it.

Mrs Bannister said: “They’re grieving for something that has gone, a faraway life that’s gone and a community that’s gone and the hall is being used as a symbol or that.

“People are longing for times when they used to know their neighbour’s name but it isn’t like that any more. It takes a lot of commitment to have a community like that.”

“We are genuinely sorry that people feel this upset about it all and the real difficult thing is people have to let out those feelings.

“The next stage is about what else we can do to be useful and helpful to work together as a community.”