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Comment: Expensive, certainly, but is Parade revamp a bad thing?
I have outed myself in the past as something of a bridge-sceptic. When it comes to Watford pond anyway. For the sake of clarity, I should state I have no objection to bridges in general; in fact I find them an efficient and inoffensive method of traversing aquatic obstacles.
Nevertheless, I have previously raised doubts over the necessity of having one across a pond which has never hampered any pedestrian’s journey through The Parade.
Well, now we can all see this addition to the High Street in all its glory. And, although I am not ready to completely recant my bridge-scepiticism, it’s really not that bad a feature.
I’m still not completely convinced it adds anything per se. But as part of the revamp in general, the pond looks a lot better than it did a year ago - or it will do, once the council manages to sort the water out which has already turned an unsightly shade of bright algae green.
It is clear from social media that The Parade’s revamp is not to everybody’s taste, especially when it comes with a price tag of more than £4 million. However, I say again. It does look a lot better than it did. Previously, that part of the town was an eyesore - an embarrassment. The Parade was a rundown environment that just fed into stereotypes that Watford is a pokey little town in decline.
The refurbishment of The Parade is not a silver bullet and will not solve all the issues at the top of the town. Yet, following its revamp, it does look better - and, on balance, that can’t be a bad thing.
It doesn’t look like Watford is going to see an end to the saga over whether newly re-elected mayor Dorothy Thornhill will run for parliament or not any time soon.
The Lib Dems have said they are not due to announce their candidate for 2015 until September.
Meanwhile, there have been signs this week that the mayor is seriously considering making a bid for Westminster
Exhibit A was a press release from the Watford Lib Dems crowing about the latest Lord Ashcroft polling from marginal parliamentary seats. First off, seeing Liberal Democrats excited about any polling in these dark days of electoral gloom is noteworthy. Only a few weeks ago there was an abortive revolt against their perennially beleaguered leader Nick Clegg.
But the Watford branch has taken heart from the polling that shows the Lib Dems on 24 per cent, the Tories on 29 per cent, Labour on 25 per cent and UKIP on 16 per cent. This, they argue, is evidence Watford is still a "three horse race".
Although those results came when those polled were asked how they would vote just considering their local constituency.
But when they were asked how they would vote in a General Election tomorrow, the results made far less pleasant reading for the Lib Dems, who languish in fourth on 14 per cent behind UKIP on 20 per cent, Labour on 29 and the Tories on 31 per cent.
If the Lib Dems are to have a hope next May, they will need a candidate who can focus voters’ minds on local as well as national issues.
And it doesn’t take too much mental exertion to identify a candidate who fits that bill perfectly.
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