Concerns over plans to demolish Victorian homes, Hollywood stars filming in a village, children being locked out of a paddling pool and the retirement of a headteacher were among the stories making our headlines five and ten years ago this week


'The history of Watford is disappearing': Concerns raised over plans to demolish Victorian villas

Concerns have been raised about plans to replace two historic Victorian villas and five protected trees with a 12 storey office block and a high level footbridge over fears the town’s history will “disappear”.

Watford Council granted planning approval for the development of new office space in Clarendon Road, which will host the new European headquarters of TJX Europe, the operator of the TK Maxx.

Watford Observer:

The Victorian villas at 73 and 75 Clarendon Road

Erica Sutton, of Trowley Rise, Abbots Langley, believes the “irreplaceable” heritage of Watford should be protected.

She said: “The physical survivals of our past should be valued and protected for their own sake, as they are a central part of our common cultural heritage.

“They are an irreplaceable record which contributes to our understanding of both the present and the past.”

Watford Observer:

Sarratt stars: Part of Ridley Scott's new film will be shot near Biggerstaffs Garage

Hollywood stars coming to town for blockbuster film shoot

A number of Hollywood actors will grace the streets of Sarratt as part of the filming of a blockbuster movie.

Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams star in the All the Money in the World – a crime drama from Oscar-winning director Sir Ridley Scott, chronicling the early life and kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.

Filming will take place at two locations in the village on Sunday, July 30 between the hours of 10am and 6pm: Biggerstaffs Garage in Dimmocks Lane and New Road/North Hill.

A letter sent out to village residents informs them of the impending road closures resulting from the large-scale operation.

Watford Observer:

The Shady Lane facility could be replaced by flats

Discussions on future of Watford police station reach 'advanced stage'

Discussions on the future of Watford police station have reached an “advanced stage”.

In May we revealed plans to knock down the existing building on Shady Lane, along with the redundant magistrates’ court, to make way for 55 flats.

These plans form part of a joint proposal for the future of the station, submitted by consultants on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), and Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The hope is to make more efficient use of police buildings, sharing with local councils and using the estate to provide the best value to the public.


Tempers fray at delay in opening pool after attempted break-in

Bureaucratic boxtickers have been blamed for keeping hundreds of children out of a Watford paddling pool on the hottest day of the year while repairs were carried out to a vandalised kiosk.

As the temperatures soared above 30 degrees, tempers boiled over among parents and youngsters who had come to the park hoping to cool off and enjoy the sun.

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The combination of the first week of the school summer holidays and one of the first sunny days of the year saw thousands descend on Cassiobury Park but many were left disappointed.

The delay was caused by an attempted break-in overnight to a kiosk at the edge of the site, prompting the whole area to be cordoned off as a crime scene while forensics officers investigated.

Watford Observer:

Village of the year award presented

Dignitaries including the Queen’s cousin visited Kings Langley to officially present the Hertfordshire village of the year award.

Sir Simon Bowes Lyon KCVO, president of the Hertfordshire Campaign to Protect Rural England, who was also Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire between 1986 and 2007, visited to make the presentation.

The village picked up the award for the west of the county, narrowly missing out on the overall title, as judges branded it "a veritable hive of activity".

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School marks headteacher's retirement

Hundreds of balloons were released from Highwood Primary School in Bushey on Friday, to mark the retirement of the school’s headteacher.

Excited staff and students gathered together at the school in Mead Way for the release, which also signified the end of term.

Poula Budge, headteacher, said: "It was lovely to have the balloon release, there were more than 300 balloons which isn’t bad going seeing as we have 460 on our role call.

"All of them were tagged and named so it will be great for the students to find out which one travels the furthest.

"I’m retiring after seven years at the school. It’s been an amazing time and I’m sad to go. But I’ve seen the new build through and it’s time to hand over to someone else, someone younger."