The British Red Cross Centre, Barton Way

Information and frequently asked questions about the British Red Cross, Barton Way. Page last updated on 19/03/2024.

Frequent Asked Questions

These FAQs are live and as such are subject to change and amendment.

What is the British Red Cross building?

The British Red Cross Centre (BRCC) in Barton Way next to the library was built in 1966 by the British Red Cross Society and the Welcome Club on land owned by the Three Rivers District Council (TRDC).

The British Red Cross Society hold a ground lease from TRDC and they ceased hiring the building to the public in 2019 apart from, as required by the lease, use by the Welcome Club on Monday afternoons.

What is the Welcome Club?

The Welcome Club has existed at the centre since it opened, and its provision is recognised within the lease of the building. Watford and Three Rivers Trust (W3RT) oversee the Welcome Club each Monday, which provides great social opportunities for both local and non-local residents to get together, dance and socialise. Ahead of the surrender of the lease, TRDC have offered to assist the Welcome Club in finding a new home, although it will be up to the Welcome Club to decide where it wants to go.

What is the British Red Cross doing?

The British Red Cross wish to surrender their lease as the building is no longer required as part of its mobility aids service.  TRDC are looking at balancing needs for community space, the future of the Welcome Club and potential additional use for much needed local affordable housing.

What does TRDC plan to with the BRCC?

As set out in the council’s draft Local Plan, the plan is to redevelop the British Red Cross site with the aim of providing nine social affordable family homes to help reduce the council’s housing waiting list, together with a community space on the ground floor. The plans are subject to planning approval by the council’s planning committee.

Have local councillors and Croxley Green Parish Council been involved in discussing options for the site?

Yes. The possible surrender of the lease by the British Red Cross was discussed by TRDC in December 2020. However, until the lease is surrendered, and terms agreed, the council cannot implement its redevelopment proposals.

During 2023, Three Rivers hosted several meetings with all Croxley councillors, parish councillors and their clerk to discuss options for the site and its possible plans for housing and community space.

Why can’t TRDC just give the Red Cross Centre to Croxley Green Parish Council?

Under the Local Government Act 1972, TRDC is obliged to ensure that it satisfies best value requirements. TRDC is required to act in council taxpayers best financial interest and secure the best value of any asset - it cannot just transfer/sell an asset at less than best consideration and market value.

TRDC received an expression of interest on 31 January 2024 from Croxley Green Parish Council indicating an interest in purchasing the British Red Cross Centre for use as a new parish office and for community use. As of yet, the parish council has not submitted a formal offer for the purchase of the building.

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

Could the lease just be passed over to Croxley Parish Council

Yes, in theory, that is called an ‘assignment’ but it requires the British Red Cross and TRDC to agree to this. However, an assignment or subletting to the parish council would still require the Red Cross to adhere to the original lease terms. The lease would also need to be varied as the premises ‘user clause’ prevents the property from being used as a parish office and the British Red Cross would still remain ultimately liable for the property as a guarantor until 2065.

Why is housing being considered in addition to community space?

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 council has to provide plans for housing numbers for our Local Plan. Brownfield sites (those that have previously had any sort of development on them) must be considered before green sites. BRCC is a brownfield site, so it would potentially provide an opportunity for community housing whilst minimising impact on the green belt.

If there is to be community housing added to the site, how much housing will there be?

Assuming a surrender of the lease, TRDC has been working with a community housing association on a plan that satisfies the council’s ‘best value’ duties and the residents it has a duty to support. The proposed scheme would provide 100% affordable housing for rent on the site (1no. one bed and 8no. two bed units) which will provide new homes for local people and a community facility on the ground floor accessed next to the library.

I didn’t really know anything about the Red Cross Centre, how can I find out more?

TRDC will update this page as required so that residents can be confident of the facts, additionally the BRCC regularly gets discussed at the Croxley Local Area Forum. The council intends to undertake public engagement later this year on any proposals before a planning application is submitted.