Renewed bid to demolish Victorian villa after 'oppressive and monolithic' plans previously rejected

Renewed bid to demolish Victorian villa after 'oppressive and monolithic' plans previously rejected

Renewed bid to demolish Victorian villa after 'oppressive and monolithic' plans previously rejected

First published in News

Developers are making a renewed bid to demolish a Victorian villa in central Watford to make way for a large flats and office development.

Hertfordshire County Council and V Fund Limited have submitted plans for a smaller building to replace the former registry office in 36 Clarendon Road.

The original proposal was rejected by politicians in March on the grounds it was too large and bulky for the location, which is next to the Estcourt Conservation area.

Watford Observer:

The old plans

The original plans ran into opposition from people in the area who complained the planned development was "oppressive and monolithic" and would dwarf nearby homes.

Councillors for the area also argued the building should be preserved due to its historical value to the town and said it could be used for a new school in the town centre.

The new proposals are due to come to Watford Council’s development control committee on Thursday and planning officials have recommended them for approval.

The revised design sees the number of flats reduced from 36 to 34, removing two penthouse flats to make the design down from seven storeys to six.

Watford Observer:

The new plans

A report on the proposal said: "This application proposes an amended design for the residential element which deletes the two roof level flats and introduces new materials to break up the visual dominance of the brickwork on the east facing elevation. It is considered that this revised design overcomes the reason for refusal and is acceptable."

The current building was built around 1865 and was the home of Watford’s MP between 1918 and 1943, Sir Dennis Herbert. In more recent times it was the town’s registry office.

Planners said although the building was reminiscent of how Clarendon Road used to look, it was now incongruous against the more modern office blocks.

They also said it was unlikely the building would find a new use in its current state.

The report said: "The proposal will result in the total loss of the locally listed Victorian villa on the site and thereby substantial harm to this asset. However, the building itself is not considered to be of significant merit due to its limited architectural and historic interest.

"It is also not able to provide the quality or quantity of modern office floorspace required by the designation of Clarendon Road as the town’s prime office area. Its potential use is very limited and the likelihood of it being brought back into use is consequently very low."

The report added that the developers had agreed to make at least 35 per cent of the flats affordable and to pay more than £150,000 towards local infrastructure, including a new children’s play area.

Comments (15)

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12:36pm Tue 3 Jun 14

TRT says...

""It is also not able to provide the quality or quantity of modern office floorspace required by the designation of Clarendon Road as the town’s prime office area."

How much of this "prime office area" is actually in use?
""It is also not able to provide the quality or quantity of modern office floorspace required by the designation of Clarendon Road as the town’s prime office area." How much of this "prime office area" is actually in use? TRT
  • Score: -1

1:14pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

It will be a loss to Watford if yet another building of character and history is torn down.

I hope it will be saved.
It will be a loss to Watford if yet another building of character and history is torn down. I hope it will be saved. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 14

1:15pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Leavesdenlad says...

Why not make it a house. Don't knock it down, don't convert it into flats, don't make another overbearing and bland office block that already looks old after 5 years but a house. One of those things we are told Watford is short of. This one has a bonus of somewhere to park a car and doesn't involve building roads through parks, converting a pub or flattening allotments so I guess that all goes against it.
Why not make it a house. Don't knock it down, don't convert it into flats, don't make another overbearing and bland office block that already looks old after 5 years but a house. One of those things we are told Watford is short of. This one has a bonus of somewhere to park a car and doesn't involve building roads through parks, converting a pub or flattening allotments so I guess that all goes against it. Leavesdenlad
  • Score: 13

1:57pm Tue 3 Jun 14

inside-watford says...

There have been large developments in and around the Estcourt Conservation area over the last few years and it has got out of control. Every application in the area has been approved as the council makes revenue selling the land, (if it was theirs), payments for local infrastructure and of course the eventual council taxes. Just around the corner is St Johns Church who are looking at opening a free school, this would be the perfect grounds for it. That of course does not benefit Watford Council. As usual there is not enough parking spaces being created with this development and although the residents will not be eligible for permits this will not stop them from parking on the streets after 18:30. All the schools in the area are already at capacity as with all the other strained resources in the area. The only item that will not be strained is Watford Hospital because we have the new health campus on the way.... oh wait a minute....
There have been large developments in and around the Estcourt Conservation area over the last few years and it has got out of control. Every application in the area has been approved as the council makes revenue selling the land, (if it was theirs), payments for local infrastructure and of course the eventual council taxes. Just around the corner is St Johns Church who are looking at opening a free school, this would be the perfect grounds for it. That of course does not benefit Watford Council. As usual there is not enough parking spaces being created with this development and although the residents will not be eligible for permits this will not stop them from parking on the streets after 18:30. All the schools in the area are already at capacity as with all the other strained resources in the area. The only item that will not be strained is Watford Hospital because we have the new health campus on the way.... oh wait a minute.... inside-watford
  • Score: 6

2:17pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

I like the idea of a house or a school.

Clearly it will not make as much money as a large block of flats, but really, does it all have to be about money every single time?

Doesn't the character of the town count for anything?

A great many people were married there. The building should be preserved, it is a very pretty building and has history in great measure.

A block of flats would just be a carbunkle on the nose of Watford. Another one.

It would make a lovely house and knocking down the ugly office part would provide a good sized garden.
I like the idea of a house or a school. Clearly it will not make as much money as a large block of flats, but really, does it all have to be about money every single time? Doesn't the character of the town count for anything? A great many people were married there. The building should be preserved, it is a very pretty building and has history in great measure. A block of flats would just be a carbunkle on the nose of Watford. Another one. It would make a lovely house and knocking down the ugly office part would provide a good sized garden. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 6

2:18pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Andrew1963 says...

inside-watford wrote:
There have been large developments in and around the Estcourt Conservation area over the last few years and it has got out of control. Every application in the area has been approved as the council makes revenue selling the land, (if it was theirs), payments for local infrastructure and of course the eventual council taxes. Just around the corner is St Johns Church who are looking at opening a free school, this would be the perfect grounds for it. That of course does not benefit Watford Council. As usual there is not enough parking spaces being created with this development and although the residents will not be eligible for permits this will not stop them from parking on the streets after 18:30. All the schools in the area are already at capacity as with all the other strained resources in the area. The only item that will not be strained is Watford Hospital because we have the new health campus on the way.... oh wait a minute....
To be fair to Watford Council - It is Hertfordshire County Council who own the building and will profit from redevelopment. HCC is also the Local Education Authority and could lease the building to the free school ( personally i am against free schools), or other user. Perhaps as HCC is Tory run, Harrington could chat them up over a prawn sandwich and ask them to stop the application?
[quote][p][bold]inside-watford[/bold] wrote: There have been large developments in and around the Estcourt Conservation area over the last few years and it has got out of control. Every application in the area has been approved as the council makes revenue selling the land, (if it was theirs), payments for local infrastructure and of course the eventual council taxes. Just around the corner is St Johns Church who are looking at opening a free school, this would be the perfect grounds for it. That of course does not benefit Watford Council. As usual there is not enough parking spaces being created with this development and although the residents will not be eligible for permits this will not stop them from parking on the streets after 18:30. All the schools in the area are already at capacity as with all the other strained resources in the area. The only item that will not be strained is Watford Hospital because we have the new health campus on the way.... oh wait a minute....[/p][/quote]To be fair to Watford Council - It is Hertfordshire County Council who own the building and will profit from redevelopment. HCC is also the Local Education Authority and could lease the building to the free school ( personally i am against free schools), or other user. Perhaps as HCC is Tory run, Harrington could chat them up over a prawn sandwich and ask them to stop the application? Andrew1963
  • Score: 7

2:22pm Tue 3 Jun 14

LSC says...

The new plans are so much prettier than the old ones. I think we should bulldoze all those old properties with character. The Tower of London is a waste of space, and Windsor Castle! You could fit a whole housing estate on there. Stonehenge could become a new town if you got those stupid rocks out the way.
Come on people, there is money to be made for short term gain! Get with the programme!
The new plans are so much prettier than the old ones. I think we should bulldoze all those old properties with character. The Tower of London is a waste of space, and Windsor Castle! You could fit a whole housing estate on there. Stonehenge could become a new town if you got those stupid rocks out the way. Come on people, there is money to be made for short term gain! Get with the programme! LSC
  • Score: 5

2:34pm Tue 3 Jun 14

inside-watford says...

Andrew1963 wrote:
inside-watford wrote:
There have been large developments in and around the Estcourt Conservation area over the last few years and it has got out of control. Every application in the area has been approved as the council makes revenue selling the land, (if it was theirs), payments for local infrastructure and of course the eventual council taxes. Just around the corner is St Johns Church who are looking at opening a free school, this would be the perfect grounds for it. That of course does not benefit Watford Council. As usual there is not enough parking spaces being created with this development and although the residents will not be eligible for permits this will not stop them from parking on the streets after 18:30. All the schools in the area are already at capacity as with all the other strained resources in the area. The only item that will not be strained is Watford Hospital because we have the new health campus on the way.... oh wait a minute....
To be fair to Watford Council - It is Hertfordshire County Council who own the building and will profit from redevelopment. HCC is also the Local Education Authority and could lease the building to the free school ( personally i am against free schools), or other user. Perhaps as HCC is Tory run, Harrington could chat them up over a prawn sandwich and ask them to stop the application?
I was wrong about the ownership of the land so thanks for the correction, I do believe however Watford Council will still benefit. Whether free schools are a good thing or bad thing I cannot tell you but it would still be a better plan than yet more flats in the area. The Lib Dems actually stepped in the first time round letting the area know about the application, (amongst many), and the plans were refused. What they failed to do was spot the plans being re-submitted two weeks after the previous refusal. They were told about about it but they failed to follow it up second time round, this was a couple of weeks before the elections!
[quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]inside-watford[/bold] wrote: There have been large developments in and around the Estcourt Conservation area over the last few years and it has got out of control. Every application in the area has been approved as the council makes revenue selling the land, (if it was theirs), payments for local infrastructure and of course the eventual council taxes. Just around the corner is St Johns Church who are looking at opening a free school, this would be the perfect grounds for it. That of course does not benefit Watford Council. As usual there is not enough parking spaces being created with this development and although the residents will not be eligible for permits this will not stop them from parking on the streets after 18:30. All the schools in the area are already at capacity as with all the other strained resources in the area. The only item that will not be strained is Watford Hospital because we have the new health campus on the way.... oh wait a minute....[/p][/quote]To be fair to Watford Council - It is Hertfordshire County Council who own the building and will profit from redevelopment. HCC is also the Local Education Authority and could lease the building to the free school ( personally i am against free schools), or other user. Perhaps as HCC is Tory run, Harrington could chat them up over a prawn sandwich and ask them to stop the application?[/p][/quote]I was wrong about the ownership of the land so thanks for the correction, I do believe however Watford Council will still benefit. Whether free schools are a good thing or bad thing I cannot tell you but it would still be a better plan than yet more flats in the area. The Lib Dems actually stepped in the first time round letting the area know about the application, (amongst many), and the plans were refused. What they failed to do was spot the plans being re-submitted two weeks after the previous refusal. They were told about about it but they failed to follow it up second time round, this was a couple of weeks before the elections! inside-watford
  • Score: 2

2:38pm Tue 3 Jun 14

inside-watford says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
I like the idea of a house or a school.

Clearly it will not make as much money as a large block of flats, but really, does it all have to be about money every single time?

Doesn't the character of the town count for anything?

A great many people were married there. The building should be preserved, it is a very pretty building and has history in great measure.

A block of flats would just be a carbunkle on the nose of Watford. Another one.

It would make a lovely house and knocking down the ugly office part would provide a good sized garden.
I couldn't agree more. I'm pretty sure I saw a UKIP web page that showed all the recent developments in the same area.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: I like the idea of a house or a school. Clearly it will not make as much money as a large block of flats, but really, does it all have to be about money every single time? Doesn't the character of the town count for anything? A great many people were married there. The building should be preserved, it is a very pretty building and has history in great measure. A block of flats would just be a carbunkle on the nose of Watford. Another one. It would make a lovely house and knocking down the ugly office part would provide a good sized garden.[/p][/quote]I couldn't agree more. I'm pretty sure I saw a UKIP web page that showed all the recent developments in the same area. inside-watford
  • Score: 2

3:40pm Tue 3 Jun 14

drunkenduck says...

NOOOOO. Leave the building alone, if it does happen the Developers & Council should be shoot or hanged or both.

It's the last standing "house" in the road, as history shows the whole road was a roll of houses until the greedy, pathetic developers destroyed the area with those "UGLY" office blocks.

Secondly these only a few building around Watford that is still standing and haven't been ruined. And that is part of Watford past history, so it should be SAVED. As these only a few remaining buildings in Watford that shows it's Watford's history. But saying that, the council doesn't seem to promote Watford history and all it cares about is building more ugly buildings and destroying Watford past history - how pathetic.

If anyone ask about Watford's history bet only a few will know the true answers?
NOOOOO. Leave the building alone, if it does happen the Developers & Council should be shoot or hanged or both. It's the last standing "house" in the road, as history shows the whole road was a roll of houses until the greedy, pathetic developers destroyed the area with those "UGLY" office blocks. Secondly these only a few building around Watford that is still standing and haven't been ruined. And that is part of Watford past history, so it should be SAVED. As these only a few remaining buildings in Watford that shows it's Watford's history. But saying that, the council doesn't seem to promote Watford history and all it cares about is building more ugly buildings and destroying Watford past history - how pathetic. If anyone ask about Watford's history bet only a few will know the true answers? drunkenduck
  • Score: 9

3:47pm Tue 3 Jun 14

drunkenduck says...

Planners said although the building was reminiscent of how Clarendon Road used to look, it was now incongruous against the more modern office blocks. What a complete pathectic answer, these many "old" buildings including houses, small pubs in London that is surround with modern blocks. And they look fine and it even attracts extra "tourism" into the area

They also said it was unlikely the building would find a new use in its current state. D'er... Well it shows how STUPID some people really are, these many users that can use the building as it stands.. Be Creative..
Planners said although the building was reminiscent of how Clarendon Road used to look, it was now incongruous against the more modern office blocks. What a complete pathectic answer, these many "old" buildings including houses, small pubs in London that is surround with modern blocks. And they look fine and it even attracts extra "tourism" into the area They also said it was unlikely the building would find a new use in its current state. D'er... Well it shows how STUPID some people really are, these many users that can use the building as it stands.. Be Creative.. drunkenduck
  • Score: 4

4:49pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Andrew1963 says...

drunkenduck wrote:
NOOOOO. Leave the building alone, if it does happen the Developers & Council should be shoot or hanged or both. It's the last standing "house" in the road, as history shows the whole road was a roll of houses until the greedy, pathetic developers destroyed the area with those "UGLY" office blocks. Secondly these only a few building around Watford that is still standing and haven't been ruined. And that is part of Watford past history, so it should be SAVED. As these only a few remaining buildings in Watford that shows it's Watford's history. But saying that, the council doesn't seem to promote Watford history and all it cares about is building more ugly buildings and destroying Watford past history - how pathetic. If anyone ask about Watford's history bet only a few will know the true answers?
There are two houses painted white near the Junction - or there used to be! The inside of the old house has nothing left of character and there is an ugly extension on the rear. The office blocks started turning up just before the WW2, and since the 50's virtually all the houses and the church has gone, so i expect whatever the council decides a government planning inspector wwill approve. The rights of property owners to do with their land as they wish tend to trump the wishes of neighbours. It is a nice enough building, but there are plenty better in Nascot from this era. i suspect it is the fact that it is one of the last that will count aginst it rather than for it. As said above the County council have it in their power to lease the building to another user, but i expect they are already banking on the money from redevelopment. Where is the registry office nowadays?
[quote][p][bold]drunkenduck[/bold] wrote: NOOOOO. Leave the building alone, if it does happen the Developers & Council should be shoot or hanged or both. It's the last standing "house" in the road, as history shows the whole road was a roll of houses until the greedy, pathetic developers destroyed the area with those "UGLY" office blocks. Secondly these only a few building around Watford that is still standing and haven't been ruined. And that is part of Watford past history, so it should be SAVED. As these only a few remaining buildings in Watford that shows it's Watford's history. But saying that, the council doesn't seem to promote Watford history and all it cares about is building more ugly buildings and destroying Watford past history - how pathetic. If anyone ask about Watford's history bet only a few will know the true answers?[/p][/quote]There are two houses painted white near the Junction - or there used to be! The inside of the old house has nothing left of character and there is an ugly extension on the rear. The office blocks started turning up just before the WW2, and since the 50's virtually all the houses and the church has gone, so i expect whatever the council decides a government planning inspector wwill approve. The rights of property owners to do with their land as they wish tend to trump the wishes of neighbours. It is a nice enough building, but there are plenty better in Nascot from this era. i suspect it is the fact that it is one of the last that will count aginst it rather than for it. As said above the County council have it in their power to lease the building to another user, but i expect they are already banking on the money from redevelopment. Where is the registry office nowadays? Andrew1963
  • Score: 3

10:57pm Tue 3 Jun 14

edhorn says...

"Planners said although the building was reminiscent of how Clarendon Road used to look, it was now incongruous against the more modern office blocks"

... in which case, why not keep the house with its charm and character and tear down all the hideous office blocks instead.
"Planners said although the building was reminiscent of how Clarendon Road used to look, it was now incongruous against the more modern office blocks" ... in which case, why not keep the house with its charm and character and tear down all the hideous office blocks instead. edhorn
  • Score: 6

7:39am Wed 4 Jun 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

With this council, it's all about the money and fitting ever more people in.

It can't go on like this.
With this council, it's all about the money and fitting ever more people in. It can't go on like this. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 1

8:10am Wed 4 Jun 14

TRT says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
With this council, it's all about the money and fitting ever more people in.

It can't go on like this.
Places like Watford, Harrow, Hemel, Berko, St Albans etc are under huge expansion pressure. The government say commuter loading on the trains is going to go critical in the next
10 years which is why they need HS2 to free train slots up from the long distance services on the WCML. But can't they understand that the solution isn't simply to add more trains, because of they do that you're still facing, nay encouraging, towns along the corridor to cram more and more densely with the knock on pressure on other infrastructure. If he argument is capacity them they need a new commuter line into virgin territory which can have a planned infrastructure, not a non-commuting service as planned.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: With this council, it's all about the money and fitting ever more people in. It can't go on like this.[/p][/quote]Places like Watford, Harrow, Hemel, Berko, St Albans etc are under huge expansion pressure. The government say commuter loading on the trains is going to go critical in the next 10 years which is why they need HS2 to free train slots up from the long distance services on the WCML. But can't they understand that the solution isn't simply to add more trains, because of they do that you're still facing, nay encouraging, towns along the corridor to cram more and more densely with the knock on pressure on other infrastructure. If he argument is capacity them they need a new commuter line into virgin territory which can have a planned infrastructure, not a non-commuting service as planned. TRT
  • Score: 0

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