Three Rivers committed to retaining a community hall on the Red Cross site
Three Rivers District Council committed to retaining a community hall on the Red Cross site
The Red Cross site was closed to community groups in 2019 when the Red Cross decided it no longer needed it for its own purposes and recognised it needs a significant sum spending to bring it up to modern standards. The Red Cross have over 40 years remaining on the lease.
Since then, Three Rivers District Council have been in talks with the Red Cross for them to exit the lease. As a Charity, Red Cross have a legal obligation to obtain maximum value for their assets and they are therefore seeking a substantial payment in order to release the lease. Three Rivers wants to avoid the building standing empty, but the council also wants to avoid a large sum of public money being sunk into a building which would then also need refurbishment at further significant cost.
The option now under consideration would see the site redeveloped jointly with a housing association to provide a brand new community facility along with affordable homes. This would not require any public money to be put in, so not only provides value for money but also makes good use of urban land, relieving pressure on the green belt, and avoids the cost of refurbishing the old building.
How the community hall would be managed would be subject for further discussion, but the aim would be for it to be much more widely available and more intensively used by all sections of the local community than the Red Cross building has been for many years.
Croxley's District Councillors will keep listening to residents, and push to agree a way forwards that retains community use on the site while also ensuring residents get value for money.