Waste site on school’s doorstep

Campaigners in north Watford have successfully fought off two applications in the past six months to set up a waste transfer site on their doorsteps – but the plan has come back to haunt them and, to their amazement, has been approved. Rats, noise, traffic chaos and pollution are just some of the objections residents believe have been ignored by Hertfordshire County Council in its decision to site a waste dump close to the Meriden Estate in Watford. The waste transfer and recycling centre will be built on the Colne Way Industrial Estate.

[December 3, 1999]

Graham digs into the turf

The first turf of grass for the site of Watford Peace Memorial Hospice’s new in-patient unit was cut on Tuesday after its funding was reached. The unit was launched by Watford football manager Graham Taylor after more than three years of fundraising produced £1.6million. Mr Taylor said: “This is a tremendous time for the Peace Hospice and I’m thrilled it has managed to raise the necessary funds for this much-needed facility.”

[December 3, 1999]

Festive fun day

Community and Christmas spirits combined to create an early festive season fun day in Mill End on Saturday. Shops in the Tudor Parade got together to make the day special with clowns and tasty Christmas treats, all in aid of Mencap House in Berry Lane.

[December 10, 1999]

Welcome to the future

A taste of a new age came to Watford on Friday with The Millennium Experience, a showcase of projects and schemes projecting the experiences of the last 1,000 years on to the next. Councillors, schools and businesses met at the forum, organised by The New Millennium Experience Company and Watford Council, at the Bill Everett Community Centre to discuss their joint goal – to raise community spirit and ensure Hertfordshire is celebrated in the centuries to come. The Internet was featured in a great deal of the exhibitions on show. Hertfordshire’s museum development officer Ms Sue Davies explained how the county’s heritage will be available to the public online by November 2000.

[December 10, 1999]

Record of the century

The Watford Observer is to mark the Millennium with a special limited edition issue. It could be dubbed our “Newspaper of the Century”, for this souvenir issue will feature the main news and personalities in the locality – the headlines and headline-makers – that have made our columns over the past 100 years. It is your chance to read about such diverse subjects as the Watford Riot in 1902 and the row over the fluoridation of Watford’s water supply in the 1950s, as we reported them at the time. There are the triumphs and tribulations, and the colourful minutiae that provide the shades and textures to everyday life as it is and was.

[December 17, 1999]

Take a spiritual journey

Pilgrimage 2000, a Christian group on a Millennium mission across Britain, will be stopping overnight in Watford on their way to Canterbury next week to celebrate in prayer the end of this century and the coming of the next. “It is the alternative to all the razzmatazz and speechifying,” said Mr Tom Stacey, the brains behind Pilgrimage 2000. Mr Stacey and his friends at St George’s Church, Camden Hill, London, have organised a modern day variant on an ancient theme – a pilgrimage. They hope to achieve the intended destination of Canterbury on Millennium eve to pay home to Christian beliefs.

[December 17, 1999]

Opening of new square

The new town centre square, which cost more than £1million, was officially opened in Watford last Thursday evening. Watford Mayor Rosemary Bell, councillors, business leaders and members of the community braved the rain to see council leader Vince Muspratt start the celebrations to mark the completion of these phase of the £6million enhancement scheme. Councillor Muspratt said: “This sets the scene for a new Watford for a new century – we have a town centre to be proud of.” The square is a raised platform outside St Mary’s Church with a pillar at each corner, topped by two masks to represent the twin towns.

[December 17, 1999]

Knees-up slip-up

Desperate owners of Watford’s pubs and clubs have been forced to slash ticket prices for the Millennium celebrations, in an 11th hour bid to bring in stayaway revellers. This week saw one of the town’s biggest venues, The Colosseum, suffering from a pre-Millennium hangover, after it was forced to cancel its 1970s revival night Bus Stop on New Year’s Eve. The entertainment venue struggled to sell enough tickets for its £55-a-head celebration, which resulted in the last-minute decision. Many people have cold-shouldered the idea of a night out, opting instead to spend the big night at private parties with families and friends. This is proving very fruitful for supermarkets, which are reaping the benefits thanks to soaring alcohol sales.

[December 24, 1999]

What was happening in the world in December 1999?

• Rapper Jay-Z stabs record executive Lance ‘Un’ Rivera at a night club in New York (December 1)

• After rowing for 81 days, Toni Murden became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat alone (December 3)

• Flash floods in Venezuela result in the deaths of thousands of people and cause a total collapse in the state’s infrastructure (December 14)

• NASA launches the Terra platform into orbit carrying five Earth Observation instruments (December 18)

• An Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in Indian airspace and landed at airports in India, Pakistan, Dubai and Afghanistan. The ordeal lasted seven days (December 24)

• Former Beatle George Harrison was attacked at his home in Friar Park (December 30)

• The US turned over complete administration of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian Government (December 31)

• Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Puton as the acting President (December 31)