A councillor wrote directly to the owners of Watford football club urging them to "abandon" plans to build a new stadium – just a couple of days before the Hornets were relegated from the Premier League.

Paul Richards, a Liberal Democrat in Bushey, wrote to Gino Pozzo on July 24 to express his "deepest concern" at the prospect of Watford FC building a stadium at Bushey Hall Golf Club.

Earlier this year, a stadium design at Bushey Hall was leaked and then in June it was confirmed that the club had begun pre-application discussions with Hertsmere Borough Council – although a club source told the Observer it was just "scoping out the opportunity".

After Watford dropped out of the top flight following a 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, the club were silent on what relegation could mean for a potential new stadium, when approached by the Observer.

Over the last couple of months, more than 5,000 people have signed a Conservative party petition calling for Watford FC to be "given the red card" to building a new stadium in Bushey.

Watford Observer:

This petition has been created by Conservative councillors. Credit: Change.org

But the Hertsmere Liberal Democrat party have been campaigning too and Cllr Richards has made his feelings clear in a letter to Mr Pozzo.

He wrote: "We implore you, as the club’s owner, to abandon these plans. Please save Bushey from a disastrous project which would cause irreparable harm, both to out community and our local environment."

He later added: "We must stress, that, in every other respect, we have nothing but goodwill towards Watford FC.

"This club is a great source of pride in our part of the world. Many of us in Bushey are lifelong supporters.

"We wish you success, both on and off the pitch. But Watford FC belongs in Watford. It emphatically does not belong here in Bushey."

Watford Observer:

The first page of the letter sent to Gino Pozzo

The letter was signed by 18 people in total including Cllr Richards, Lawrence Davis, a former Tory councillor in Bushey North, Nik Oakley from Bushey Labour, John Humphries from the Green party, Rabbi Elchonon Feldman from Bushey United Synagogue, Chris Meiers from Friends of Fishers Field, and Owen Harvey from Bushey Baptist Church.

The mooted 30,000 capacity stadium proposal for Watford FC would see the ground built within a country park on the vacant golf course.

Watford Observer:

Watford Observer:

Bushey Hall Golf Club golf course

But the Observer understands Bushey Hall is one of a number of sites being looked at and the club could end up staying in Vicarage Road.

Earlier this year, we reported the club’s focus has been on preserving their Premier League status, but the remained committed to looking at ways of growing.

It was understood in March, Watford will continue to show its ambition to develop Vicarage Road, but other options will be on the table as long it is sensible to do so.

Watford Observer:

Vicarage Road stadium. Credit: Action Images

Following relegation, the club released a statement today in which the owner and chief executive, Scott Duxbury, said: "We are here for the long-term and we will not allow this one moment of great disappointment to stop the continued development of this club over the next eight years and beyond."

The statement also spoke of the "great pride" it has in "transforming" Vicarage Road Stadium and building a club of "true substance".