School field could be used for housing

A major development proposed at Watford Grammar School for Boys could see sections of its playing field sold off for housing to pay for a new music centre. The school, in Rickmansworth Road, has unveiled plans to sell up to four acres of land at the end of its playing fields, next to Cassiobury Park Avenue, Station Approach and Shepherds Road. The land sale has been proposed in order to finance the school’s plan for a music centre – estimated to cost the school between £2million and £5million.

[December 1, 2000]

New board game launched

A new board game is being launched in Watford just in time for Christmas. Borderline is a new game of skill suitable for players aged 8-108. It has been labelled as the perfect family-based antidote to computer games and television this holiday.

[December 1, 2000]

Hi-tech Torrance

Golfing legend Sam Torrance displayed his genius at the official launch of the world’s first TopGolf Game Centre in Watford last Thursday. Torrance, next year’s European Ryder Cup Captain, lent his support to the new centre, based in Bushey Mill Lane, which marks a technological shift in the game and is set to attract a host of new players, young and old, beginner or pro. By taking microchip technology and placing it within a golf ball, TopGolf give players an interactive golfing experience. Managing director Peter Allport said: “One of our oldest games has gone hi-tech.”

[December 1, 2000]

Public’s views wanted

Following the controversial decision to close Watford Springs, Watford Council is offering the public a chance to put forward their views on leisure facilities in the town. At a policy and resources committee meeting on Monday, councillors said they wanted to find out what residents would like to see developed on either the Watford Springs site in Lower High Street or the Central Baths site in Hempstead Road. However, concern was raised by some council members, who felt the public needed to be aware that before putting forward their views they had to realise at least one, or part of one, of these sites would have to be sold to fund any future development.

[December 8, 2000]

Busy skyline

Skyscrapers and towering office blocks are on the rise in Watford and, as councillors consider an application for an 11-storey development in the heart of the town, residents are being urged to have their say. The pressure is on in towns across southern England as the Government continues to argue for new homes and office space – and Watford is no exception. Leader of Watford Council Vince Muspratt has warned that residents need to think carefully about the future face of the town. Speaking this week he said: “There is only just enough identified sites to meet our housing targets, which is fine for the next five to 10 years. The real issue is after that.”

[December 8, 2000]

Rail link put on hold

The long wait for a decision on the proposed Croxley Rail Link, due to be made yesterday, will continue – with the Government asking for information before it agrees to fund the scheme. The rail link was first proposed more than a decade ago, and a Government-funding bid for £30million was submitted in July 1999. But this cash was not part of the £40.7million announced for transport plans in the East of England region by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott yesterday. Instead, the Government stated it did not have enough information on the proposal, and has called for more work to be carried out.

[December 15, 2000]

600 jobs safeguarded

The 600 staff at Camelot’s Watford headquarters received a seven year Christmas bonus this week when they heard the company will keep its National Lottery licence. The decision, taken by the National Lottery Commission on Monday, has been welcomed as a boost for the town by Watford’s politicians, as well as the company itself. It ends a remarkable change of fortunes for Camelot, based in Croxley Business Park, which was told in August its bid for the licence has been rejected. Camelot made a legal challenge against this and the decision was reversed in September.

[December 22, 2000]

Shoppers left empty-handed

Shoppers desperate for the perfect Christmas present queued in their hundreds for a rare chance to buy a Sony PlayStation 2 in Watford on Wednesday. Tesco Extra in Lower High Street was just one of five Tesco stores in the country to get the latest game system in stock. But many of those who queued were left disappointed when Tesco failed to secure half as many of the games as expected. The store had believed it would have 500 PlayStations but only managed to get 200. PlayStation 2s are in short supply this Christmas and only a few retailers have them.

[December 22, 2000]

What was happening in the world in December 2000?

• 46 people are killed and 150 injured when a freight train derails into the path of a passenger train in India (December 2)

• The Backstreet Boys release their debut album, Black & Blue, which sets a record for the best international sales week in history (December 2)

• The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour complete the final transfers of supplies to the International Space Station (December 9)

• The Texas Seven escape from a maximum security prison in Texas and start a crime spree (December 13)

• American Vice President Al Gore delivers his concession speech effectively ending his hopes of becoming president (December 13)

• The last reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down (December 15)

• Madonna marries film director Guy Ritchie in Scotland (December 22)

• At least 18 people are killed in multiple Islamist bomb attacks on churches across Indonesia (December 24)

• US department store chain Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business 128 years after it was founded as the world’s first mail order business (December 28)

• A series of bombs explode in various places in Metro Manila, Philippines, killing 22 (December 30)

• The Millennium Dome in London closes one year after its opening (December 31)