Watford Borough councillors asked to take voluntary 5 per cent pay cut

Watford Observer: Watford councillors to face pay cuts Watford councillors to face pay cuts

Politicians in Watford are being urged to take a voluntary cut in their pay to reflect the shrinking size of the council.

An independent panel has recommended that Watford Borough councillors each take a 5 per cent reduction this year as the council outsources and cuts its services.

However it urged no cut in the elected mayor’s £65,000-a year-salary, recommending it be frozen instead.

The recommendations come as research by the council’s independent remuneration panel showed the budget Watford’s politicians pay was higher - at nearly £430,000 a year - than in neighbouring boroughs.

The political battle-lines have been drawn over the recommendation ahead of Wednesday’s full council meeting with the opposition Labour group urging deeper cuts of 10 to 20 per cent.

The ruling Liberal Democrat group has argued for another freeze of councillors’ and the mayoral remuneration instead of a reduction.

Watford councillors are currently paid a basic allowance of £7,209 a year. Councillors sitting in the ruling cabinet who hold a portfolio get a special responsibility allowance of £10,815 on top of their basic allowance.

Chairmen of various council committees also get special responsibility allowances of either £7,930 or £2,884. The leaders of the different parties get an extra £100 per councillor in their group, up to a maximum of £2,000.

Watford’s elected mayor Dorothy Thornhill receives a basic salary of £65,738 and a £1,000 annual travel allowance.

Watford councillors’ and mayoral remuneration had been frozen every year since 2003.

But research carried out by the independent panel showed that Watford had the highest bill for its politicians, with its 36 councillors and elected mayor costing £427,000 a year.

In contrast, Three River’s 48 district councillors cost £282,120 a year, Hertsmere’s 39 borough councillors cost £355,190 a year and Dacorum’s 51 borough councillors cost £435,000 a year.

The panel recommended that each individual Watford councillor consider the voluntary cut of 5 per cent "to reflect the reduction in overall budget balanced against an increasing pro-rata percentage for councillors."

While it was compiling its report the remuneration panel received representations from the majority Liberal Democrat group and opposition Labour group.

Nigel Bell, the Labour leader, argued due to cuts in services and council workers facing redundancy that the mayor, her cabinet and councillors with special responsibility allowances should "lead by example" and take a 20 per cent cut.

He said he felt backbench councillors should take a 10 per cent cut in their allowance due to the fact Watford’s political remuneration was higher than at neighbouring councils such as Three Rivers and Hertsmere.

The Liberal Democrat group argued councillors’ allowances and the mayor’s salary should be frozen for another year to attract a "diverse range of candidates" to the council.

The report said: "The rationale for their conclusions was that there should be a decent level of remuneration in return for high performance from councillors.

"They recognised that this was necessary in order to enable a diverse range of candidates to put themselves forward for election - in particular those with work and family commitments."

The Liberal Democrat group agreed that Watford councillors’ remuneration was at the "higher end" for districts but compared their members’ workload to that of large councils such as county or unitary authorities.

The report added: "They stated that the mayor had indicated she is willing to have a salary freeze during this term, regardless of what happens to MPs’ or other local government salaries".

Comments (29)

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1:08pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Veritas says...

voluntary, means it will never happen.

Dotty and thaty hapless husband of hers taking a paycut!!!

At least it is official, that they are well overpaid, something we have been saying for a long time.

£1000 travel allowance?
Lets not forget the huge Pension she will get.

Why no comment on the fact that we still have a Civic
Mayor?

We don't need to mug shots in the council chambers
voluntary, means it will never happen. Dotty and thaty hapless husband of hers taking a paycut!!! At least it is official, that they are well overpaid, something we have been saying for a long time. £1000 travel allowance? Lets not forget the huge Pension she will get. Why no comment on the fact that we still have a Civic Mayor? We don't need to mug shots in the council chambers Veritas

1:13pm Mon 28 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

"The Liberal Democrat group argued councillors’ allowances and the mayor’s salary should be frozen for another year to attract a "diverse range of candidates" to the council."

Clearly the money approach is not working judging by the (lack of) quality of our existing councillors from all parties.

What about doddery George in Park, has the money attracted a top councillor there? Or Peter Jeffree who called the Farm Terrace protestors NIMBY's? Of Cllr Sharpe who hides behind several false names whilst posting on this website?

Cut the allowances, they're just not worth the money, especially Dotty and Sharpie!

I just thought they were incompetent, I didn't realise how greedy they were as well.
"The Liberal Democrat group argued councillors’ allowances and the mayor’s salary should be frozen for another year to attract a "diverse range of candidates" to the council." Clearly the money approach is not working judging by the (lack of) quality of our existing councillors from all parties. What about doddery George in Park, has the money attracted a top councillor there? Or Peter Jeffree who called the Farm Terrace protestors NIMBY's? Of Cllr Sharpe who hides behind several false names whilst posting on this website? Cut the allowances, they're just not worth the money, especially Dotty and Sharpie! I just thought they were incompetent, I didn't realise how greedy they were as well. MarsLander

1:44pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Mohandas says...

I have some sympathy at a time when the person in the street is feeling the pinch.Before reviewing pay scales, does any one know the attendance, contribution / input records of the WBC Cllrs apart from ex Cllr Smillie who lived in Florida? The Gov't 'aborted EMA' allowance was based on attendance and education contribution. Some places of work have a 'clock in system'. Our growing political class eg Euro MPs, even our own MPs once elected in safe seats because of our tribal voting pattern can do what they like as regards their attendance etc as they just follow the party line.
I have some sympathy at a time when the person in the street is feeling the pinch.Before reviewing pay scales, does any one know the attendance, contribution / input records of the WBC Cllrs apart from ex Cllr Smillie who lived in Florida? The Gov't 'aborted EMA' allowance was based on attendance and education contribution. Some places of work have a 'clock in system'. Our growing political class eg Euro MPs, even our own MPs once elected in safe seats because of our tribal voting pattern can do what they like as regards their attendance etc as they just follow the party line. Mohandas

1:51pm Mon 28 Jan 13

G_Whiz says...

They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay!
They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay! G_Whiz

2:31pm Mon 28 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

G_Whiz wrote:
They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay!
Quote of the year!
[quote][p][bold]G_Whiz[/bold] wrote: They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay![/p][/quote]Quote of the year! MarsLander

3:06pm Mon 28 Jan 13

crazyfrog says...

G_Whiz wrote:
They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay!
yeah they would have to pay us !
[quote][p][bold]G_Whiz[/bold] wrote: They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay![/p][/quote]yeah they would have to pay us ! crazyfrog

3:40pm Mon 28 Jan 13

TRT says...

crazyfrog wrote:
G_Whiz wrote:
They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay!
yeah they would have to pay us !
On the contrary, when one thinks of Watford Borough Council, a phrase that springs immediately to mind is "what a performance!"
[quote][p][bold]crazyfrog[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]G_Whiz[/bold] wrote: They should think themselves lucky they are not on performance related pay![/p][/quote]yeah they would have to pay us ![/p][/quote]On the contrary, when one thinks of Watford Borough Council, a phrase that springs immediately to mind is "what a performance!" TRT

4:28pm Mon 28 Jan 13

BCB69 says...

Once again Dear Dotty and her band of Brothers & Sisters( & Husband) are exempt from these proposed suggestions, no change there then.
Once again Dear Dotty and her band of Brothers & Sisters( & Husband) are exempt from these proposed suggestions, no change there then. BCB69

4:41pm Mon 28 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

Is Dotty a fat cat?
Is Dotty a fat cat? MarsLander

4:53pm Mon 28 Jan 13

TRT says...

Who voted for "Should be paid more?"!!!
Who voted for "Should be paid more?"!!! TRT

4:59pm Mon 28 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

That was probably Clarkie750 and doris, or whatever he calls himself nowadays.

The Lib Dems can all be expected to vote in favour of the most money they can get away with, after all, it's their money. All we do is pay for it.
That was probably Clarkie750 and doris, or whatever he calls himself nowadays. The Lib Dems can all be expected to vote in favour of the most money they can get away with, after all, it's their money. All we do is pay for it. MarsLander

5:27pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Veritas says...

oh Sharpie where are you??
Can't think of a new name,to hid behind?
here lets help you out.

Try" waste of Money"
oh Sharpie where are you?? Can't think of a new name,to hid behind? here lets help you out. Try" waste of Money" Veritas

6:17pm Mon 28 Jan 13

pernix says...

I'd have thought our mayor could afford to pay for transport on £65,000 a year. It used to be that 'allowances' existed to make paltry salaries slightly more palatable.
I'd have thought our mayor could afford to pay for transport on £65,000 a year. It used to be that 'allowances' existed to make paltry salaries slightly more palatable. pernix

6:18pm Mon 28 Jan 13

KAren Smythe says...

All TRDC councillors took a 10% cut and they get a fraction of the amountg paid out to WBC
All TRDC councillors took a 10% cut and they get a fraction of the amountg paid out to WBC KAren Smythe

7:59pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Tara1978 says...

It's easy to propose a cut every year at budget time knowing you'll be outvoted because your party doesn't have the majority. I would hope that by now cllr Bell and his colleagues would have already voluntarily reduced their allowances to the level they keep saying is the right one. Perhaps the reporter could investigate? Maybe they have but the cynic in me says this is just political posturing.
It's easy to propose a cut every year at budget time knowing you'll be outvoted because your party doesn't have the majority. I would hope that by now cllr Bell and his colleagues would have already voluntarily reduced their allowances to the level they keep saying is the right one. Perhaps the reporter could investigate? Maybe they have but the cynic in me says this is just political posturing. Tara1978

8:13pm Mon 28 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

Tara1978 wrote:
It's easy to propose a cut every year at budget time knowing you'll be outvoted because your party doesn't have the majority. I would hope that by now cllr Bell and his colleagues would have already voluntarily reduced their allowances to the level they keep saying is the right one. Perhaps the reporter could investigate? Maybe they have but the cynic in me says this is just political posturing.
Good point Tara, well made.

Will the councillors lead by example to show this is not just a shallow maneouvre?

The WO can then report on which councillors reduced their pay by how much and which kept their noses in the WBC trough.

Dotty could lead from the front but she clearly loves money too much and needs to keep her sheep in clover lest they get hungry and start thinking for themselves.

It will only take one councillor to reduce their take to shame the rest of the council. Who will that councillor be? The Tory, the Independent, a Labour or Green, a Liberal with a conscience perhaps, or is the lure of the trough too much? Clearly for some, it is, maybe for all of them.
[quote][p][bold]Tara1978[/bold] wrote: It's easy to propose a cut every year at budget time knowing you'll be outvoted because your party doesn't have the majority. I would hope that by now cllr Bell and his colleagues would have already voluntarily reduced their allowances to the level they keep saying is the right one. Perhaps the reporter could investigate? Maybe they have but the cynic in me says this is just political posturing.[/p][/quote]Good point Tara, well made. Will the councillors lead by example to show this is not just a shallow maneouvre? The WO can then report on which councillors reduced their pay by how much and which kept their noses in the WBC trough. Dotty could lead from the front but she clearly loves money too much and needs to keep her sheep in clover lest they get hungry and start thinking for themselves. It will only take one councillor to reduce their take to shame the rest of the council. Who will that councillor be? The Tory, the Independent, a Labour or Green, a Liberal with a conscience perhaps, or is the lure of the trough too much? Clearly for some, it is, maybe for all of them. MarsLander

12:58am Tue 29 Jan 13

Veritas says...

If the Hospital staff have to pay for parking at Watford, why is Dotty getting a travel allowance?

Better still make them all pay for parking at the Council!
If the Hospital staff have to pay for parking at Watford, why is Dotty getting a travel allowance? Better still make them all pay for parking at the Council! Veritas

9:35am Tue 29 Jan 13

Watfordengineer says...

I think 65k is a very fair price for dotty. given she is the front of the council and the target of so much rage! I believe Watford is very lucky with our elected officials. Between Dotty and Harrington I think Watford has gained more vision and drive. We have secured the Croxley rail link, a hospital and a film studio through a massive recession. Harrington looks to be tackling London Midland and Dotty seems to have a vision for the town centre. All in all regardless of your political views you can't deny they seem to be proactive.
I think 65k is a very fair price for dotty. given she is the front of the council and the target of so much rage! I believe Watford is very lucky with our elected officials. Between Dotty and Harrington I think Watford has gained more vision and drive. We have secured the Croxley rail link, a hospital and a film studio through a massive recession. Harrington looks to be tackling London Midland and Dotty seems to have a vision for the town centre. All in all regardless of your political views you can't deny they seem to be proactive. Watfordengineer

9:46am Tue 29 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

Proactive, yes, a positive need to be seen to be doing something no matter how expensive or wasteful, at least in the case of Dotty and her LibDem councillors.

As for whether she's worth £65k plus allowances, no, she's worthless as she is a liability for Watford. We need someone with a bit of integrity and real vision for the whole of Watford, not just the bit you can see from your office at the town hall.

She hasn't secured a hospital, it is not planned and there is a long way to go yet if it does go ahead. In the process she is alienating people by riding roughshod over protesters who not unreasonably want to keep their allotments in West Watford where they have always been.
Proactive, yes, a positive need to be seen to be doing something no matter how expensive or wasteful, at least in the case of Dotty and her LibDem councillors. As for whether she's worth £65k plus allowances, no, she's worthless as she is a liability for Watford. We need someone with a bit of integrity and real vision for the whole of Watford, not just the bit you can see from your office at the town hall. She hasn't secured a hospital, it is not planned and there is a long way to go yet if it does go ahead. In the process she is alienating people by riding roughshod over protesters who not unreasonably want to keep their allotments in West Watford where they have always been. MarsLander

10:05am Tue 29 Jan 13

Watfordengineer says...

I would knock down half of the harlequin centre for a brand new well connected Hospital. Watford General, is a mess of buildings, badly sprawling over an unconnected site that is a pain to get to by road.

There are always losers in developments. Yes if I had an allotment I wouldn't be happy. But hopefully in years to come when they need medical care and receive treatment at the new hospital they will get over it.

I'm not exactly sure how anyone can say she has been wasteful. as far as I am aware my council tax hasn't risen for a good while whilst I haven't noticed any reduction in services. we still get weekly rubbish collections. So if she has created been wasteful or created a black hole in the accounts the auditors would surely have raised this. like they did with the previous Labour run council.
I would knock down half of the harlequin centre for a brand new well connected Hospital. Watford General, is a mess of buildings, badly sprawling over an unconnected site that is a pain to get to by road. There are always losers in developments. Yes if I had an allotment I wouldn't be happy. But hopefully in years to come when they need medical care and receive treatment at the new hospital they will get over it. I'm not exactly sure how anyone can say she has been wasteful. as far as I am aware my council tax hasn't risen for a good while whilst I haven't noticed any reduction in services. we still get weekly rubbish collections. So if she has created been wasteful or created a black hole in the accounts the auditors would surely have raised this. like they did with the previous Labour run council. Watfordengineer

10:14am Tue 29 Jan 13

TRT says...

Watfordengineer wrote:
I think 65k is a very fair price for dotty. given she is the front of the council and the target of so much rage! I believe Watford is very lucky with our elected officials. Between Dotty and Harrington I think Watford has gained more vision and drive. We have secured the Croxley rail link, a hospital and a film studio through a massive recession. Harrington looks to be tackling London Midland and Dotty seems to have a vision for the town centre. All in all regardless of your political views you can't deny they seem to be proactive.
Croxley Rail Link... yes, they've secured the closure of an existing station and agree to a half-baked job which is predicted to have three times as many empty seats as occupied ones over the Watford section, with a station a difficult walk away from the new hospital which the line actually goes through anyway. A hospital built in the middle of the most densely populated part of Watford with the worst traffic congestion in the county (probably) to serve two other districts as well but without a free bus service in the interim and which tears up the whole idea of allotment land and healthy living. A film studio which regularly sends nearby residents into a panic with fake (and real!) fires, explosions, helicopters, gun battles etc. OK, so Leavesden Studios Tours is quite a good thing to have, but it's not actually in Watford, is it? Harrington is harrying London Midland for failures rooted in the system that HIS PARTY created when they franchised the rail routes. Dotty's vision for the town centre is to build a bridge over a 19 foot wide pond and rip out all the works laid down only ten years before which were paid for by the sale of the land where Century Retail Park is, which I call selling off the family silver, move the market to a car park behind the most unsuitable retail space in Watford...
Proactive? Idiotic more like.
[quote][p][bold]Watfordengineer[/bold] wrote: I think 65k is a very fair price for dotty. given she is the front of the council and the target of so much rage! I believe Watford is very lucky with our elected officials. Between Dotty and Harrington I think Watford has gained more vision and drive. We have secured the Croxley rail link, a hospital and a film studio through a massive recession. Harrington looks to be tackling London Midland and Dotty seems to have a vision for the town centre. All in all regardless of your political views you can't deny they seem to be proactive.[/p][/quote]Croxley Rail Link... yes, they've secured the closure of an existing station and agree to a half-baked job which is predicted to have three times as many empty seats as occupied ones over the Watford section, with a station a difficult walk away from the new hospital which the line actually goes through anyway. A hospital built in the middle of the most densely populated part of Watford with the worst traffic congestion in the county (probably) to serve two other districts as well but without a free bus service in the interim and which tears up the whole idea of allotment land and healthy living. A film studio which regularly sends nearby residents into a panic with fake (and real!) fires, explosions, helicopters, gun battles etc. OK, so Leavesden Studios Tours is quite a good thing to have, but it's not actually in Watford, is it? Harrington is harrying London Midland for failures rooted in the system that HIS PARTY created when they franchised the rail routes. Dotty's vision for the town centre is to build a bridge over a 19 foot wide pond and rip out all the works laid down only ten years before which were paid for by the sale of the land where Century Retail Park is, which I call selling off the family silver, move the market to a car park behind the most unsuitable retail space in Watford... Proactive? Idiotic more like. TRT

10:34am Tue 29 Jan 13

Watfordengineer says...

TRT wrote:
Watfordengineer wrote:
I think 65k is a very fair price for dotty. given she is the front of the council and the target of so much rage! I believe Watford is very lucky with our elected officials. Between Dotty and Harrington I think Watford has gained more vision and drive. We have secured the Croxley rail link, a hospital and a film studio through a massive recession. Harrington looks to be tackling London Midland and Dotty seems to have a vision for the town centre. All in all regardless of your political views you can't deny they seem to be proactive.
Croxley Rail Link... yes, they've secured the closure of an existing station and agree to a half-baked job which is predicted to have three times as many empty seats as occupied ones over the Watford section, with a station a difficult walk away from the new hospital which the line actually goes through anyway. A hospital built in the middle of the most densely populated part of Watford with the worst traffic congestion in the county (probably) to serve two other districts as well but without a free bus service in the interim and which tears up the whole idea of allotment land and healthy living. A film studio which regularly sends nearby residents into a panic with fake (and real!) fires, explosions, helicopters, gun battles etc. OK, so Leavesden Studios Tours is quite a good thing to have, but it's not actually in Watford, is it? Harrington is harrying London Midland for failures rooted in the system that HIS PARTY created when they franchised the rail routes. Dotty's vision for the town centre is to build a bridge over a 19 foot wide pond and rip out all the works laid down only ten years before which were paid for by the sale of the land where Century Retail Park is, which I call selling off the family silver, move the market to a car park behind the most unsuitable retail space in Watford...
Proactive? Idiotic more like.
Connecting a tube line from Croxley to Watford Junction doesn't sound half baked to me! or idiotic. Given your obviously concerned about the density of population in West Watford I would have thought you'd be very keen on the new transport links!
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Watfordengineer[/bold] wrote: I think 65k is a very fair price for dotty. given she is the front of the council and the target of so much rage! I believe Watford is very lucky with our elected officials. Between Dotty and Harrington I think Watford has gained more vision and drive. We have secured the Croxley rail link, a hospital and a film studio through a massive recession. Harrington looks to be tackling London Midland and Dotty seems to have a vision for the town centre. All in all regardless of your political views you can't deny they seem to be proactive.[/p][/quote]Croxley Rail Link... yes, they've secured the closure of an existing station and agree to a half-baked job which is predicted to have three times as many empty seats as occupied ones over the Watford section, with a station a difficult walk away from the new hospital which the line actually goes through anyway. A hospital built in the middle of the most densely populated part of Watford with the worst traffic congestion in the county (probably) to serve two other districts as well but without a free bus service in the interim and which tears up the whole idea of allotment land and healthy living. A film studio which regularly sends nearby residents into a panic with fake (and real!) fires, explosions, helicopters, gun battles etc. OK, so Leavesden Studios Tours is quite a good thing to have, but it's not actually in Watford, is it? Harrington is harrying London Midland for failures rooted in the system that HIS PARTY created when they franchised the rail routes. Dotty's vision for the town centre is to build a bridge over a 19 foot wide pond and rip out all the works laid down only ten years before which were paid for by the sale of the land where Century Retail Park is, which I call selling off the family silver, move the market to a car park behind the most unsuitable retail space in Watford... Proactive? Idiotic more like.[/p][/quote]Connecting a tube line from Croxley to Watford Junction doesn't sound half baked to me! or idiotic. Given your obviously concerned about the density of population in West Watford I would have thought you'd be very keen on the new transport links! Watfordengineer

10:41am Tue 29 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

WatfordEngineer,

as a LibDem councillor, why do you not write under your own name?
WatfordEngineer, as a LibDem councillor, why do you not write under your own name? MarsLander

10:54am Tue 29 Jan 13

Watfordengineer says...

I'm not a Lib Dem councillor, but a Professional Engineer who lives in Watford. I'm not a member of any political party. My comments on the council are my own opinion.
I play the what page is Dotty photographed in the Watford Observer like the rest of us (usually about page 22). But i honestly believe that she has been good for Watford because she isn't a faceless bureaucrat, she has vision and a mind to change things, you may not agree with her vision, but that is no reason to dump on her quite like those on these forums do. I also believe Harrington has had a great go at connecting with Watford. Much more so than his predecessor whom I don't remember doing nearly as much based around Watford.
It might be hard to believe but surely it is self evident. Watford is full of people who agree with the Lib Dems who aren't councillors or they would hold such a majority!
I'm not a Lib Dem councillor, but a Professional Engineer who lives in Watford. I'm not a member of any political party. My comments on the council are my own opinion. I play the what page is Dotty photographed in the Watford Observer like the rest of us (usually about page 22). But i honestly believe that she has been good for Watford because she isn't a faceless bureaucrat, she has vision and a mind to change things, you may not agree with her vision, but that is no reason to dump on her quite like those on these forums do. I also believe Harrington has had a great go at connecting with Watford. Much more so than his predecessor whom I don't remember doing nearly as much based around Watford. It might be hard to believe but surely it is self evident. Watford is full of people who agree with the Lib Dems who aren't councillors or they would hold such a majority! Watfordengineer

11:06am Tue 29 Jan 13

MarsLander says...

My mistake, I actually believe you are genuine.

There are others on here who are less genuine, councillors in disguise and one must be wary of their agendas.
My mistake, I actually believe you are genuine. There are others on here who are less genuine, councillors in disguise and one must be wary of their agendas. MarsLander

11:09am Tue 29 Jan 13

TRT says...

You have misquoted me. I did not call the CRL idiotic, only the current incumbents of WBC. And I did not call the idea of the CRL half-baked, just the implementation of the CRL. The building of this transport link will be in accordance with the usual dose of Watford Disease, the only saving throw allowed is that TfL and LUL generally have a good track record on infrastructure.
The idea of the CRL is in itself sound. The cost cutting carried out to secure the deal leaves the town with a less then ideal solution. It was actually stated that the cost of buying new ticket machines and gates could tip the balance of viability - not a very robust economic argument at all!
I do accept that compromise is sometimes required, but closing the current Met station, not reopening West Watford station and not building a station on the hospital grounds is a compromise too far. The predicted loading of the service will see 8 car trains with a capacity of over 300 seats taking around 70 passengers at peak times over that new link. They could run three 4 car trains in a shuttle service between Moor Park, Watford and Watford Junction, funded from the saving in infrastructure that the shorter stations would require. Not only that, but the Met is being upgraded to CityFlow650 signalling over the next five years, (by 2018, 2024 with slippage) but they will have to double up with the old fixed block signalling system as well because of the mix of upgraded and non-upgraded stock which will be using the link for just two years (from 2016 predicted completion date, expect to see the link suffer deliberate delays until 2020 because of the signalling), increasing costs astronomically and wastefully.
So yes, I am concerned about the population density of West Watford, and I am pleased about public transport improvements, but I can prove to you that joined up thinking is not happening in West Watford. Take a look at the plans for the health campus. See the national cycle route 6? Where does it go? Into the health campus? No. So the paragraph about mixed mode transport is just a copy and paste job designed to satisfy the tick box list required for plans to be signed off. No-one has sat down sensibly and looked through it. No-one has considered how mobility impaired persons are supposed to get off the bridge at Vicarage Road station, then up hill again on a narrow pavement and cross that road junction to get to the hospital site. Siting the station where it is planned at Vicarage Road, it's right next to another set of allotments which are ripe for house building to offset the increase in costs. What's the betting THESE allotments or the recreation ground on the other side become suddenly the financial key to the whole CRL/Health Campus project? I wouldn't even give you even money on it.
You have misquoted me. I did not call the CRL idiotic, only the current incumbents of WBC. And I did not call the idea of the CRL half-baked, just the implementation of the CRL. The building of this transport link will be in accordance with the usual dose of Watford Disease, the only saving throw allowed is that TfL and LUL generally have a good track record on infrastructure. The idea of the CRL is in itself sound. The cost cutting carried out to secure the deal leaves the town with a less then ideal solution. It was actually stated that the cost of buying new ticket machines and gates could tip the balance of viability - not a very robust economic argument at all! I do accept that compromise is sometimes required, but closing the current Met station, not reopening West Watford station and not building a station on the hospital grounds is a compromise too far. The predicted loading of the service will see 8 car trains with a capacity of over 300 seats taking around 70 passengers at peak times over that new link. They could run three 4 car trains in a shuttle service between Moor Park, Watford and Watford Junction, funded from the saving in infrastructure that the shorter stations would require. Not only that, but the Met is being upgraded to CityFlow650 signalling over the next five years, (by 2018, 2024 with slippage) but they will have to double up with the old fixed block signalling system as well because of the mix of upgraded and non-upgraded stock which will be using the link for just two years (from 2016 predicted completion date, expect to see the link suffer deliberate delays until 2020 because of the signalling), increasing costs astronomically and wastefully. So yes, I am concerned about the population density of West Watford, and I am pleased about public transport improvements, but I can prove to you that joined up thinking is not happening in West Watford. Take a look at the plans for the health campus. See the national cycle route 6? Where does it go? Into the health campus? No. So the paragraph about mixed mode transport is just a copy and paste job designed to satisfy the tick box list required for plans to be signed off. No-one has sat down sensibly and looked through it. No-one has considered how mobility impaired persons are supposed to get off the bridge at Vicarage Road station, then up hill again on a narrow pavement and cross that road junction to get to the hospital site. Siting the station where it is planned at Vicarage Road, it's right next to another set of allotments which are ripe for house building to offset the increase in costs. What's the betting THESE allotments or the recreation ground on the other side become suddenly the financial key to the whole CRL/Health Campus project? I wouldn't even give you even money on it. TRT

11:54am Tue 29 Jan 13

Veritas says...

So Mr/Mrs Professional engineer, so you think Dotty has a vision for Watford and her administration has been good because the "council tax" has not gone up?

I don't know of any professional person who would be happy with the Pond redevelopment, especially as it as last done during Dottys reign 10years ago, as to giving her a hard time? We seem to remember it was not long ago her hapless spouse and his fellow councillors harranguing other peoples' views?

Oh, and what professional would be happy at Dotty letting numerous Lib Dem councillors live abroad and still claim they were doing constituency work, and not making them pay back allowances, Not Wasteful? No business would let staff be off sick and in another country claiming sick pay?

She has unfortunately reigned too long in Watford
and to keep going on about the past labour failings is cheap at best. There are so many examples of her incompetence, oh lets not forget £500k paid to the failed Harlequin developer, which she tried to keep secret!
So Mr/Mrs Professional engineer, so you think Dotty has a vision for Watford and her administration has been good because the "council tax" has not gone up? I don't know of any professional person who would be happy with the Pond redevelopment, especially as it as last done during Dottys reign 10years ago, as to giving her a hard time? We seem to remember it was not long ago her hapless spouse and his fellow councillors harranguing other peoples' views? Oh, and what professional would be happy at Dotty letting numerous Lib Dem councillors live abroad and still claim they were doing constituency work, and not making them pay back allowances, Not Wasteful? No business would let staff be off sick and in another country claiming sick pay? She has unfortunately reigned too long in Watford and to keep going on about the past labour failings is cheap at best. There are so many examples of her incompetence, oh lets not forget £500k paid to the failed Harlequin developer, which she tried to keep secret! Veritas

12:15pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Mohandas says...

To be fair Watford Engineer just a couple of things. We have lost £250,000 on the Watford Field Development. Residents don't see planning as being connected to services like availability of school places, parking considerations. The explosion in flats on the assumption that people in flats don't have children and cars is faulty to say the least. The cafe quarter did become the binge quarter and night time economy was out of control. Is the bridge over the pond a vanity project? Without being too tribal about Watford, many did question whether an expanded hospital should be in the most congested part of the town next to WFC (who have expansion ambitions) and the best site for people coming from miles. I suppose in the long run we don't have to live with the short sightedness of our decisions.
To be fair Watford Engineer just a couple of things. We have lost £250,000 on the Watford Field Development. Residents don't see planning as being connected to services like availability of school places, parking considerations. The explosion in flats on the assumption that people in flats don't have children and cars is faulty to say the least. The cafe quarter did become the binge quarter and night time economy was out of control. Is the bridge over the pond a vanity project? Without being too tribal about Watford, many did question whether an expanded hospital should be in the most congested part of the town next to WFC (who have expansion ambitions) and the best site for people coming from miles. I suppose in the long run we don't have to live with the short sightedness of our decisions. Mohandas

1:17pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Watfordengineer says...

Veritas, unfortunately your misquoting me here now. The accusation was Dotty (and the council) was wasteful and expensive, I argued that surely she cannot be wasteful or (that) expensive or Watford would be running out of money, which it clearly isn't as council tax hasn't been raised. her vision and pro-activeness is separate to this.

Waste happens in Government it happens from all parties and is a blight on our political system. There is little point getting involved in a muck throwing match based on party politics about waste as labour, lib dems and tories will all come out covered.

I accept there are some contentious points to her and the council, the issue of parking in flats has been raised above by Mohandas and is something I have raised myself with the council. I understand that the minimum number of parking spaces in new developments is being reviewed and councils will have more powers to dictate the minimum spaces. But previously it was a national planning issue which any developer would appeal if WBC refused based on lack of parking. I hope they insist on 2 spaces per flat, as nowadays young people buying flats are much more likely to do so with partners which increases the chance of there being two cars.

There are other issues I have with Dotty, but in this forum, I rarely see the point in raising them as you folk are usually so quick to jump on her.
TRT – Issues with the movement and flow of pedestrians should be modelled by the architect such that pedestrians can get around in a safe manor. Failure to consider the safety of others in a design would be a failure with respect to the Construction Design and management Act 2007. I hope you have raised your points with your local councillor. The location of the hospital could have been moved, but then we would have to build it out of town, on some green belt land or in some nature reserve that would have kicked more of a fuss. I have no doubt that the option to build it out of town was looked at as it would have been a lot cheaper but obviously it was infeasible. I would note though having attended a talk on Sustainability by the Environmental consultant for the Olympics that high density housing and services that are in the centre of town are actually much better for the environment.

Dotty and Harrington may not be perfect, but I reiterate my opinion that I think Dotty has done well and I see that Watford has improved under her and obviously others agree with me as they keep voting for her.
Veritas, unfortunately your misquoting me here now. The accusation was Dotty (and the council) was wasteful and expensive, I argued that surely she cannot be wasteful or (that) expensive or Watford would be running out of money, which it clearly isn't as council tax hasn't been raised. her vision and pro-activeness is separate to this. Waste happens in Government it happens from all parties and is a blight on our political system. There is little point getting involved in a muck throwing match based on party politics about waste as labour, lib dems and tories will all come out covered. I accept there are some contentious points to her and the council, the issue of parking in flats has been raised above by Mohandas and is something I have raised myself with the council. I understand that the minimum number of parking spaces in new developments is being reviewed and councils will have more powers to dictate the minimum spaces. But previously it was a national planning issue which any developer would appeal if WBC refused based on lack of parking. I hope they insist on 2 spaces per flat, as nowadays young people buying flats are much more likely to do so with partners which increases the chance of there being two cars. There are other issues I have with Dotty, but in this forum, I rarely see the point in raising them as you folk are usually so quick to jump on her. TRT – Issues with the movement and flow of pedestrians should be modelled by the architect such that pedestrians can get around in a safe manor. Failure to consider the safety of others in a design would be a failure with respect to the Construction Design and management Act 2007. I hope you have raised your points with your local councillor. The location of the hospital could have been moved, but then we would have to build it out of town, on some green belt land or in some nature reserve that would have kicked more of a fuss. I have no doubt that the option to build it out of town was looked at as it would have been a lot cheaper but obviously it was infeasible. I would note though having attended a talk on Sustainability by the Environmental consultant for the Olympics that high density housing and services that are in the centre of town are actually much better for the environment. Dotty and Harrington may not be perfect, but I reiterate my opinion that I think Dotty has done well and I see that Watford has improved under her and obviously others agree with me as they keep voting for her. Watfordengineer

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