Protests to a proposal to halve a sports hall have gathered pace.

People using the William Penn Leisure Centre sports hall in Mill End continue to campaign against a plan to cut the hall in half and turn one side into a children's play area and cafe.

At a meeting in July, Three Rivers District Council put on hold its decision to award Everyone Active one side of the hall after netball players raised objection. The council said it doesn’t have the money to maintain the hall - £70,000 a year, and gave itself an extra 12 months to find a solution.

Watford Observer:

Protesters outside Three Rivers District Council's offices in July

Now, a group of tennis, badminton, and table-tennis players have joined the protest. Participants, ranging from 60 to 90-years-old say they would be “heartbroken” to lose the full-sized courts.

Harvey Rosen, 85, said: “We are active and we are a real community here. It’s not only the game we love but for some people, it’s the only time they get to talk to people of their own generation. The group would be broken up and we would be heartbroken.

“Exercise is essential for our help and for some people indoor sports is the only way to get that exercise.”

Each member of the group pays £4 to play each time.

Members protested last week and were joined by councillors at TRDC, including Conservative group leader Cllr Alex Hayward.

Cllr Hayward said: “This is not political. This is for all residents and this is about ensuring the hall is there for generations to come. They council has £4m of section 106 money which they could use and has made savings of £460,000.”

Council leader Cllr Sara Bedford said: “No councillor of any party objected to the original decision to change the layout of the leisure centre when the contract was awarded earlier this year.

“The Lib Dem administration put forward a motion, agreed by the majority of opposition councillors, to carry out a public consultation of leisure needs across Three Rivers, whilst seeking the funding needed to be able to keep the hall as it currently stands, a sum of at least 70,000 every year.

“The Conservatives were unable to find the funding needed, and voted against a move to create more income for the council through better investments.

“By looking at the leisure needs of all residents across the district, whilst seeking to identify more funds for the council, the Liberal Democrats are doing everything possible to be able to keep the hall as it is, rather than simply shouting from the sidelines."

The consultation can be found at