Pensioner’s cry to bring Boxmoor back to life

St John's Road, Boxmoor.
St John's Road, Boxmoor.

A pensioner has described his neighbourhood as ‘the outcast of Dacorum’ due to its lack of social amenities and public transport services.

Barry Newton believes many of his elderly Boxmoor neighbours have felt excluded from the rest of the Hemel Hempstead community since ‘lifeline’ stores such as Mansbridge Bakers and Parrys newsagents closed their doors at the end of last year.

The 78 year old, who has also run for parliament to represent the town in the past, said: “Boxmoor is now becoming isolated – at the moment we have no shop apart from an off-licence that opens at strange hours, cafes and estate agents.

“Since Arriva changed the route for the 2 and 3 bus services, we can’t even get to Stoneycroft shops and doctor’s surgery in Warners End without going a roundabout way through the town.”

Mr Newton says he has been in touch with pal and Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning to let him know about the problem.

He added: “I am a pensioner, I rely on my bus pass to take me into town and the doctor. Arriva has withdrawn the services from the circuits they don’t think are profitable, which is an inconvenience. There are many people who relied on the buses and on Parrys for newspapers and groceries. We need something to bring Boxmoor to life again, because it’s like a dead village.”

Estate agent John Whiteman and Co explained the sale of the St John’s Road newsagents is progressing, despite the process slowing down over Christmas. The shop is expected to reopen as a convenience store.

Dacorum borough councillor Janice Marshall, who represents the ward, described the reduction in bus services – brought in last July on the back of research and customer feedback collated by Arriva – as disheartening. She said: “It really grieves me and I am anxious that it is resolved. Residents do need to know about the Red Rose H10 and Lanes H11 bus services, which are lifesavers.

“The only property owned by the council in Boxmoor is the car park, so there isn’t an awful lot we can do about businesses. There is a chemist, cafes and a range of shops. It is never going to be a large neighbourhood shopping centre, but it is not as though the place is totally bereft.”