The 'final nail in the coffin' has been hammered into Rickmansworth’s once diverse economy, says chamber of commerce

The 'final nail in the coffin' has been hammered into Rickmansworth’s once diverse economy, says chamber of commerce

The 'final nail in the coffin' has been hammered into Rickmansworth’s once diverse economy, says chamber of commerce

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

The "final nail in the coffin" has been hammered into Rickmansworth’s once diverse economy as businesses are increasingly replaced with housing, according to the chairman of the town’s chamber of commerce. 

Nina Hosking, who became chamber chairman in 2009, said the increase in housing at the expense of businesses shows the town has become an "easy target" for developers.

She said: "Developers are targeting Rickmansworth as they see it as the soft option."

Mrs Hosking’s concerns come after Three Rivers’ planning committee approved the controversial application to convert Rickmansworth’s last remaining hotel, Long Island Exchange, into flats and houses last month.

The fourth application lodged by developers, Keay Homes, to demolish parts of the Victoria Close hotel to make way for flats and houses was unanimously approved by politicians. 

Despite the hotel becoming a locally listed building, it was also earmarked for housing in the district’s allocation site list.

Mrs Hosking said: "The zoning of these sites and the imminent demise of our only hotel in Rickmansworth will be the final nail in the coffin of a once vibrant and diverse economy.  

"(There has been a) disgusting lack of consultation with the local community - business or otherwise, and I speak as both a resident and the chairman of the chamber.  

"During the zoning of these sites for housing there was no business representation on the Local Strategic Partnership."

Kevin Snow, district council spokesman, said: "The business community was consulted along with residents. It is being considered currently by the Planning Inspectorate as part of the ongoing examination process of site allocations."

He added: "Consultations on the detailed documents were very thorough including events at libraries, public exhibitions, press releases, press notices, writing to over 5,000 stakeholders in the district, the council magazine and through ward councillors." 

However, Mrs Hosking said that taking a once "vibrant" business town and replacing those sites with housing will only lead to Rickmansworth’s demising economy.

She said: "We have gradually been whittled down over the years into a small high street."

As a result, Mrs Hosking said employment rates in the district have suffered, with rates declining from 78 per cent at the beginning of the recession to 72 per cent.

She added: "Rickmansworth deserves better from the officers and councillors at Three Rivers."

One of the reasons why Mrs Hosking thinks the town is becoming "forgotten" by the council is because it is one of the few unparished areas in the district.

Campaigns are seeking to create a town council for the unparished wards of Three Rivers.

Mrs Hosking believes the additional local authority tier will give Rickmansworth residents a greater voice when it comes to those decisions that affect their town.

Comments (8)

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6:11pm Sun 10 Aug 14

LSC says...

Housing, housing, housing. That's all I seem to see and hear. It seems to me we must have a population explosion out of control. Where do these people all work? I never read stories on here of new factories being built. I also don't read much about new Doctors surgeries, schools, sewerage plants, police stations, water resevoirs, fire and ambulance stations, hospital beds, rubbish dumps... the list is endless. All the above seem to being cut, as we put up more and more rabbit hutches.
One day, it is all going to go very, very wrong.
Housing, housing, housing. That's all I seem to see and hear. It seems to me we must have a population explosion out of control. Where do these people all work? I never read stories on here of new factories being built. I also don't read much about new Doctors surgeries, schools, sewerage plants, police stations, water resevoirs, fire and ambulance stations, hospital beds, rubbish dumps... the list is endless. All the above seem to being cut, as we put up more and more rabbit hutches. One day, it is all going to go very, very wrong. LSC
  • Score: 24

6:36pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Nordin's Hooter says...

LSC wrote:
Housing, housing, housing. That's all I seem to see and hear. It seems to me we must have a population explosion out of control. Where do these people all work? I never read stories on here of new factories being built. I also don't read much about new Doctors surgeries, schools, sewerage plants, police stations, water resevoirs, fire and ambulance stations, hospital beds, rubbish dumps... the list is endless. All the above seem to being cut, as we put up more and more rabbit hutches.
One day, it is all going to go very, very wrong.
One day it is going to go wrong ( if it hasn't already ) because people say they care about the environment, but they cannot seem to accept that most are contributing to its problem through the ever growing population !!
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: Housing, housing, housing. That's all I seem to see and hear. It seems to me we must have a population explosion out of control. Where do these people all work? I never read stories on here of new factories being built. I also don't read much about new Doctors surgeries, schools, sewerage plants, police stations, water resevoirs, fire and ambulance stations, hospital beds, rubbish dumps... the list is endless. All the above seem to being cut, as we put up more and more rabbit hutches. One day, it is all going to go very, very wrong.[/p][/quote]One day it is going to go wrong ( if it hasn't already ) because people say they care about the environment, but they cannot seem to accept that most are contributing to its problem through the ever growing population !! Nordin's Hooter
  • Score: 14

9:53pm Sun 10 Aug 14

pr76uk says...

One dingy hotel & rough pub closing, is not the end of community as we know it. If the businessmen are so clever, why not get together, buy some land, and build a hotel?

The so-called "Town Parish" they are campaigning for, is for all the big houses in Chorleywood Road and Moor Park, nothing to do with the town at all.
One dingy hotel & rough pub closing, is not the end of community as we know it. If the businessmen are so clever, why not get together, buy some land, and build a hotel? The so-called "Town Parish" they are campaigning for, is for all the big houses in Chorleywood Road and Moor Park, nothing to do with the town at all. pr76uk
  • Score: -2

8:27am Mon 11 Aug 14

cgpc Rob says...

She added: "Rickmansworth deserves better from the officers and councillors at Three Rivers."

One of the reasons why Mrs Hosking thinks the town is becoming "forgotten" by the council is because it is one of the few unparished areas in the district.

Campaigns are seeking to create a town council for the unparished wards of Three Rivers.

Mrs Hosking believes the additional local authority tier will give Rickmansworth residents a greater voice when it comes to those decisions that affect their town.

On what basis does Mrs Hosking believe adding another possible expensive tier will improve the issue.

It will have limited powers!
She added: "Rickmansworth deserves better from the officers and councillors at Three Rivers." One of the reasons why Mrs Hosking thinks the town is becoming "forgotten" by the council is because it is one of the few unparished areas in the district. Campaigns are seeking to create a town council for the unparished wards of Three Rivers. Mrs Hosking believes the additional local authority tier will give Rickmansworth residents a greater voice when it comes to those decisions that affect their town. On what basis does Mrs Hosking believe adding another possible expensive tier will improve the issue. It will have limited powers! cgpc Rob
  • Score: 1

8:58am Mon 11 Aug 14

HornetJJ says...

It's happening to every town not just Rickmansworth. Have you seen Watford lately??
It's happening to every town not just Rickmansworth. Have you seen Watford lately?? HornetJJ
  • Score: 3

9:30am Mon 11 Aug 14

The Rover says...

If Nina Hoskin feels the "final nail in the coffin" has been hammered into Rickmansworth’s once diverse economy, then maybe she should step down and let someone who is able to promote local business take over. This is completely the wrong attitude for the chairman of the chamber of commerce to have.

OK, a run down "hotel" is being converted into flats, but is it really that much of a loss to Rickmansworth?. The place looks run down, and has done for years. I can say without a doubt that there are many,many new businesses popping up in Rickmansworth and the surrounding area all the time. Does Nina Hoskin realise this? Maybe she needs to jump in her car and look at places like the Regus Building, the Industrial Estates off Tolpits Lane etc. and realise that business in Rickmansworth is booming. I am sure many of these businesses do not even realise that Rickmansworth even has a Chamber of Commerce.
If Nina Hoskin feels the "final nail in the coffin" has been hammered into Rickmansworth’s once diverse economy, then maybe she should step down and let someone who is able to promote local business take over. This is completely the wrong attitude for the chairman of the chamber of commerce to have. OK, a run down "hotel" is being converted into flats, but is it really that much of a loss to Rickmansworth?. The place looks run down, and has done for years. I can say without a doubt that there are many,many new businesses popping up in Rickmansworth and the surrounding area all the time. Does Nina Hoskin realise this? Maybe she needs to jump in her car and look at places like the Regus Building, the Industrial Estates off Tolpits Lane etc. and realise that business in Rickmansworth is booming. I am sure many of these businesses do not even realise that Rickmansworth even has a Chamber of Commerce. The Rover
  • Score: 2

11:03am Mon 11 Aug 14

SamTheEagle says...

HornetJJ – if you think Watford is bad take a trip to Hemel Hempstead! The only ray of sunshine for that town's economy is the opening of a new Pound Shop which comes with the prospect of 16 hours per week, minimum wage employment contracts. It's true there is a national shortage of housing but it is also true that the councillors have tunnel vision. They can only focus on the problem directly in front of them. Yes, build more houses but at least have the common sense to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support those families moving in to them. Schools, shops, transport, police, fire, health AND jobs.
HornetJJ – if you think Watford is bad take a trip to Hemel Hempstead! The only ray of sunshine for that town's economy is the opening of a new Pound Shop which comes with the prospect of 16 hours per week, minimum wage employment contracts. It's true there is a national shortage of housing but it is also true that the councillors have tunnel vision. They can only focus on the problem directly in front of them. Yes, build more houses but at least have the common sense to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support those families moving in to them. Schools, shops, transport, police, fire, health AND jobs. SamTheEagle
  • Score: 3

6:29pm Tue 12 Aug 14

latexjeans29 says...

My God, take it from me, Long Island provided nothing for Rickmansworth, this myth she keeps spurting out. What's more, despite me working since age 16, now 29 I still live at home sleeping on a sofa for 10 years. Must be nice there Nina in your house. Wish I could get one. Some people have very short memories.
My God, take it from me, Long Island provided nothing for Rickmansworth, this myth she keeps spurting out. What's more, despite me working since age 16, now 29 I still live at home sleeping on a sofa for 10 years. Must be nice there Nina in your house. Wish I could get one. Some people have very short memories. latexjeans29
  • Score: 0

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