Watford Borough Council rejects flats plan for 'landmark' former pub, The Verulam Arms, in north Watford

Watford Observer: Flats plan rejected for 'landmark' former pub Flats plan rejected for 'landmark' former pub

A bid to turn a "landmark" former north Watford pub into a "monolithic" flats development has been rejected by councillors.

Watford Borough Council’s development control committee voted down an application to demolish The Verulam Arms and build 18 flats saying the development was too tall and did not provide enough parking.

The vote went against the advice of planning officers who recommended that the committee approve the plans, by O’Connor Utilities Ltd.

The application proposed building 14 two-bed flats and four one-bed flats, of which six will be affordable on the site.

The scheme kept existing pub car park on the site to provide 13 spaces for the flats and said five of the new homes would be "car free".

At last night’s meeting, the committee heard from Ridge Street resident Tony Gordon who opposed the development as he said the lack of spaces would exacerbate the already crowded parking situation in the area.

However, David Mercer, the scheme’s architect, told the committee the current scheme had been reduced in size from previous plans after discussions with council planners.

He added: "This will provide much needed housing with both private and affordable unit."

During the ensuing debate on the scheme, Anne Joynes, a Labour councillor for Leggatts, said: "For me the Veralum Arms is a landmark. So it would be a shame to see it go, ugly or not."

Other councillors criticised the flats’ design. Tim Williams, a Lib Dem representative for Stanborough, said: "I am uninspired by it. It looks like a monolithic office block. It is in a prominent site in north Watford and I don’t think it has any character to it. I just think for Watford we can do better."

Watford Observer:

The proposed design for the flats.

His sentiments were echoed by Leggatts Lib Dem, Steve Johnson, said he also did not like the design nor size of the development and suggested the application be delayed so it could be improved.

He added: "Let’s try and get this right as it will be there for many, many years. So if there is a delay it could be very, very worth it."

However Keith Crout, a Lib Dem for Stanborough, argued that the development would provide much-needed flats in the area.

He said: "I drove down St Albans Road the other day, and I don’t go past there much as I live in central Watford. When I came across the Verulam Arms I thought ‘why has it not been used for anything’.

"There is a huge demand for one and two bed flats in Watford."

At the end of the discussion Lib Dem Nascot councillor, Mark Watkin, put forward a motion to delay the application for design amendments to be made, which was voted down by six votes to two.

Then Labour leader Nigel Bell then proposed a vote to refuse the application which was won by five votes to three.

Comments (10)

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4:17pm Fri 10 Jan 14

TRT says...

I'd heard a rumour that there's vaults underneath which were used as a document store from Fighter Command at Bentley Priory.
I'd heard a rumour that there's vaults underneath which were used as a document store from Fighter Command at Bentley Priory. TRT

4:29pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Cuetip says...

This nonsense about a huge demand for one bedroomed rabbit hutches has to be derailed because it's all about maximising profit and damm the consequences of community cohesiveness with a bit of social housing thrown in to massage the truth.

Watford needs attractive family homes and replacing this pub with an ugly building shows a high degree of disrespect to the local community. The planners and developers need to try living in what they want to create. And as for the £92,000, the locals wouldn't have seen a penny of it except more congestion and traffic wardens on the prowl to fine more hard pressed locals trying to find somewhere to park.
This nonsense about a huge demand for one bedroomed rabbit hutches has to be derailed because it's all about maximising profit and damm the consequences of community cohesiveness with a bit of social housing thrown in to massage the truth. Watford needs attractive family homes and replacing this pub with an ugly building shows a high degree of disrespect to the local community. The planners and developers need to try living in what they want to create. And as for the £92,000, the locals wouldn't have seen a penny of it except more congestion and traffic wardens on the prowl to fine more hard pressed locals trying to find somewhere to park. Cuetip

4:45pm Fri 10 Jan 14

TRT says...

Cuetip wrote:
This nonsense about a huge demand for one bedroomed rabbit hutches has to be derailed because it's all about maximising profit and damm the consequences of community cohesiveness with a bit of social housing thrown in to massage the truth.

Watford needs attractive family homes and replacing this pub with an ugly building shows a high degree of disrespect to the local community. The planners and developers need to try living in what they want to create. And as for the £92,000, the locals wouldn't have seen a penny of it except more congestion and traffic wardens on the prowl to fine more hard pressed locals trying to find somewhere to park.
Quite so. Last year I opposed a plan to build 11 one and two bedroom flats on the site of two three bedroom semi-detached houses on the grounds that although there was a recognised demand for 1/2 bed stock the scheme would irreversibly deplete the 3 bed stock. As an alternative they could have incorporated one or two 3 bed apartments in place of so many smaller units. The plan went ahead anyway, but oddly they've advertised the development as "a stunning collection of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments overlooking..." etc. which is incredibly misleading, and they never had permission for an advertising hoarding bordering a main road.

Developers. I don't trust 'em as far as I could spit 'em.
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: This nonsense about a huge demand for one bedroomed rabbit hutches has to be derailed because it's all about maximising profit and damm the consequences of community cohesiveness with a bit of social housing thrown in to massage the truth. Watford needs attractive family homes and replacing this pub with an ugly building shows a high degree of disrespect to the local community. The planners and developers need to try living in what they want to create. And as for the £92,000, the locals wouldn't have seen a penny of it except more congestion and traffic wardens on the prowl to fine more hard pressed locals trying to find somewhere to park.[/p][/quote]Quite so. Last year I opposed a plan to build 11 one and two bedroom flats on the site of two three bedroom semi-detached houses on the grounds that although there was a recognised demand for 1/2 bed stock the scheme would irreversibly deplete the 3 bed stock. As an alternative they could have incorporated one or two 3 bed apartments in place of so many smaller units. The plan went ahead anyway, but oddly they've advertised the development as "a stunning collection of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments overlooking..." etc. which is incredibly misleading, and they never had permission for an advertising hoarding bordering a main road. Developers. I don't trust 'em as far as I could spit 'em. TRT

5:40pm Fri 10 Jan 14

feliuk says...

After all the rubbish buildings this and previous councils have let go through it is a surprise this one has been rejected..... for the moment. I suppose all it will take is a few more thousand offered and some handy favours and I'm sure it will go through next time or the time after.
I'm surprised they even offered to build any parking spaces, I mean the ones next to the Park inn Hotel didn't need them, did they. Fools.
After all the rubbish buildings this and previous councils have let go through it is a surprise this one has been rejected..... for the moment. I suppose all it will take is a few more thousand offered and some handy favours and I'm sure it will go through next time or the time after. I'm surprised they even offered to build any parking spaces, I mean the ones next to the Park inn Hotel didn't need them, did they. Fools. feliuk

8:49pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Nascot says...

It will happen, but with the number of properties that the developers REALLY expect to build on the site. We all know how it works;-
- Submit a ridiculous proposal.
- Have it rejected.
- Re-submit a Plan B, which was actually your Plan A.
- Passed. Council think they have won!
- Developers rubbing their hands with glee. Pay day!
Result; Rabbit Hutch buy to let properties and more traffic chaos.
The average area of a UK home has shrunk by 2 square metres in a decade.
http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/article-
2535136/Average-Brit
ish-family-home-size
-shrinks-two-square-
metres-decade-increa
sing-numbers-forced-
live-flats.html
Not surprisingly when every spare space is built on with ridiculous numbers of properties squeezed in.
It will happen, but with the number of properties that the developers REALLY expect to build on the site. We all know how it works;- - Submit a ridiculous proposal. - Have it rejected. - Re-submit a Plan B, which was actually your Plan A. - Passed. Council think they have won! - Developers rubbing their hands with glee. Pay day! Result; Rabbit Hutch buy to let properties and more traffic chaos. The average area of a UK home has shrunk by 2 square metres in a decade. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 2535136/Average-Brit ish-family-home-size -shrinks-two-square- metres-decade-increa sing-numbers-forced- live-flats.html Not surprisingly when every spare space is built on with ridiculous numbers of properties squeezed in. Nascot

8:04am Sat 11 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Cuetip wrote:
This nonsense about a huge demand for one bedroomed rabbit hutches has to be derailed because it's all about maximising profit and damm the consequences of community cohesiveness with a bit of social housing thrown in to massage the truth.

Watford needs attractive family homes and replacing this pub with an ugly building shows a high degree of disrespect to the local community. The planners and developers need to try living in what they want to create. And as for the £92,000, the locals wouldn't have seen a penny of it except more congestion and traffic wardens on the prowl to fine more hard pressed locals trying to find somewhere to park.
Well said.
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: This nonsense about a huge demand for one bedroomed rabbit hutches has to be derailed because it's all about maximising profit and damm the consequences of community cohesiveness with a bit of social housing thrown in to massage the truth. Watford needs attractive family homes and replacing this pub with an ugly building shows a high degree of disrespect to the local community. The planners and developers need to try living in what they want to create. And as for the £92,000, the locals wouldn't have seen a penny of it except more congestion and traffic wardens on the prowl to fine more hard pressed locals trying to find somewhere to park.[/p][/quote]Well said. Phil Cox (UKIP)

11:39am Sat 11 Jan 14

D_Penn says...

I am disappointed that the development was only turned down because of its height and lack of parking. The developer has hit back with...

"This will provide much needed housing with both private and affordable unit."

When,if ever, will these developers be told that Watford is full and no new housing will be squeezed in for the sake of the well-being of everyone already living here?

All the local infrastructure is creaking under the strain of an ever increasing population. We can't create new roads, we can only build new schools by taking away more vestiges of green space in Watford, and overworked Watford General will take twenty years before the new developments are finally complete.

We need a local referendum asking people whether they want housing expansion in Watford to continue unfettered or a sensible limit imposed on the size the town will be allowed to grow to.

Common sense says that a housing limit must be set to avoid Watford becoming an overpopulated mini-city, but the council only ever seem to want more and more developments.

Does anyone doubt that this proposal will still go through after a few adjustments?
I am disappointed that the development was only turned down because of its height and lack of parking. The developer has hit back with... "This will provide much needed housing with both private and affordable unit." When,if ever, will these developers be told that Watford is full and no new housing will be squeezed in for the sake of the well-being of everyone already living here? All the local infrastructure is creaking under the strain of an ever increasing population. We can't create new roads, we can only build new schools by taking away more vestiges of green space in Watford, and overworked Watford General will take twenty years before the new developments are finally complete. We need a local referendum asking people whether they want housing expansion in Watford to continue unfettered or a sensible limit imposed on the size the town will be allowed to grow to. Common sense says that a housing limit must be set to avoid Watford becoming an overpopulated mini-city, but the council only ever seem to want more and more developments. Does anyone doubt that this proposal will still go through after a few adjustments? D_Penn

8:23pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Nevnash says...

Hello everyone, we need housing, check government guidelines. If the council planning dept have backed it then it should have gone through, this is a ridiculous situation and will be granted on appeal, the councillors are not planning members. There is a huge demand for one bedroom flats, please check rightmove to see that there are hardly any available for sale or rent. The councillors reasons are not substantial enough, and it should never have been refused if it was recommended under planning laws, guidelines and district plan. It's not a conservation area. If this goes to appeal and wins the committee members who failed it should maybe start to look for other jobs as they don't seem to be doing theirs correctly, this should be noted now and with past decisions too where the councillors are actually letting society down.
Let's hope it will improve.
Hello everyone, we need housing, check government guidelines. If the council planning dept have backed it then it should have gone through, this is a ridiculous situation and will be granted on appeal, the councillors are not planning members. There is a huge demand for one bedroom flats, please check rightmove to see that there are hardly any available for sale or rent. The councillors reasons are not substantial enough, and it should never have been refused if it was recommended under planning laws, guidelines and district plan. It's not a conservation area. If this goes to appeal and wins the committee members who failed it should maybe start to look for other jobs as they don't seem to be doing theirs correctly, this should be noted now and with past decisions too where the councillors are actually letting society down. Let's hope it will improve. Nevnash

10:50am Sun 12 Jan 14

D_Penn says...

@nevnash
Government guidelines shamefully does not put any limits on the number of people you can cram into a village, town or city. They care not for the comfort of citizens already living in an area. The mantra is 'pack them in stack them high' whilst you can be sure that cramming rarely effects the roads where the leading politicians live.

Yes, we need more housing thanks to the uncontrolled massive increase in the UK population over the last ten years, but stuffing Watford full to the eyeballs is not sensible. There is simply no more space without causing increasing problems for existing residents.

Nevnash, I ask you a simple question. How many more people would you like to see squished into our town before you would say 'enough'? I want to know because I believe most people already believe we have crossed that limit.
@nevnash Government guidelines shamefully does not put any limits on the number of people you can cram into a village, town or city. They care not for the comfort of citizens already living in an area. The mantra is 'pack them in stack them high' whilst you can be sure that cramming rarely effects the roads where the leading politicians live. Yes, we need more housing thanks to the uncontrolled massive increase in the UK population over the last ten years, but stuffing Watford full to the eyeballs is not sensible. There is simply no more space without causing increasing problems for existing residents. Nevnash, I ask you a simple question. How many more people would you like to see squished into our town before you would say 'enough'? I want to know because I believe most people already believe we have crossed that limit. D_Penn

11:05am Sun 12 Jan 14

John castle says...

With some imaginative planning the existing property could be upgraded and put to better use for those seeking a first home.As far as parking is concerned ample planning and a" one car per unit" strategy should be the answer.I remember as a child when the site was an air raid shelter for the residents of Judge St, Ridge St, Harebreaks, Gammons Lane etc, what ever happened to that vast underground area?
With some imaginative planning the existing property could be upgraded and put to better use for those seeking a first home.As far as parking is concerned ample planning and a" one car per unit" strategy should be the answer.I remember as a child when the site was an air raid shelter for the residents of Judge St, Ridge St, Harebreaks, Gammons Lane etc, what ever happened to that vast underground area? John castle

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