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COMMUNITY RALLY: Protest held against Red Cross building redevelopment in Croxley

 Published on: 16th April 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

Members of the Welcome Club, who meet weekly at the Red Cross building in Croxley, were delighted to receive Baroness Natalie Bennett at the community centre last month.

The former leader of the Green Party was invited to attend a protest against the planned redevelopment of the site alongside Three Rivers District Council’s (TRDC) two Green Party councillors, Chris Mitchell and Narinder Sian.

More than 80 residents also attended, and cllr Mitchell said they were left “buoyed” by Baroness Bennett’s “campaigning spirit”.

In a speech delivered outside the Red Cross building, Baroness Bennett said: “Campaigning works. You can get together to save the Red Cross hall, but much more than that, you can build a strong community and everyone will benefit.

“We’ve had 40 years of neo-liberal, neo-Thatcherite politics where everyone’s been told to go on with the state of your life and not think about the state of the world. We have a crisis of loneliness; we have a public health crisis, a mental health crisis, and what people need as a cure for that is community.”

The future of the Red Cross building was first thrown into question in 2019, when the Red Cross decided to surrender its leasehold over the building on Barton Way.

TRDC, the owner of the building, has offered to move the Welcome Club to another site in Croxley, but the group is loath to take up the proposal. Members also oppose TRDC’s plans to demolish the building and replace it with a smaller community space accompanied by nine new family-sized flats.

TRDC councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst said: “We understand that there’s a lot of emotion here, but it’s just not feasible to have a big space like this empty every day other than a Monday afternoon.

“There are 16 community centres in Croxley, some of which are struggling because there aren’t enough bookings. Since COVID-19, community groups have really disappeared.

“There is no question that we will help the Welcome Club to find a new home – there’s already money put aside for that. Plus, whether the Red Cross building gets repurposed to include parish council office space or family flats, the Welcome Cub will have to move out temporarily anyway.”

Regardless of these arguments, councillors Narinder Sian and Chris Mitchell suggested that the importance of the Red Cross building to the local community cannot be underestimated.

CROXLEYnews also spoke with Brita Blackwell, who has led the Welcome Club on behalf of the Watford & Three Rivers Trust since the 1980s. Brita explained that Croxley residents donated personal funds to help the Red Cross fit the building to residents’ requirements back in the 1960s. Understandably, community attachment to the building runs high.

TRDC has now uploaded a new webpage dedicated to the Red Cross building, which is available at

Regarding TRDC’s intentions to build nine new flats on the site, the webpage expands upon pressing needs for new homes in the village: “The council currently has more than 100 households in Croxley Green on the housing needs register seeking accommodation for rent. The number of homeless families is growing.”

The webpage also acknowledges that Croxley Green Parish Council (CGPC) has expressed interest in buying the Red Cross building for community use and for use as the council’s own office space.

The website reads: “The council may be prepared to consider an appropriate financial offer from the parish that reflects the market value of the site.”

A British Red Cross spokesperson said: “The property is too large and is no longer fit for purpose for the British Red Cross. We, therefore, have no option but to surrender the property to TRDC, the owner of the building.

“While we are under no legal obligation to retain the lease for the benefit of the Welcome Club and are not obligated to find them an alternative venue, we will ensue that they have time to do so before the building closes.”

Photo Caption: (Centre) Cllr Narinder Sian, Baroness Natalie Bennett, Brita Blackwell, cllr Cheryl Stungo, cllr Chris Mitchell 

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