We have been taking our weekly look through the Watford Observer’s archives and here is a selection of stories that were making our headlines five and ten years ago this week.


Harry Potter stars celebrate Leavesden Studios revolution

Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were on hand to celebrate the re-birth of Leavesden Studios.

The stars appeared at London’s Claridges Hotel, where some of the biggest names in the British film industry were celebrating a decision by Warner Bros. to buy the site and begin a development programme worth in excess of £100million.

The young stars, who have spent the last ten years filming at the dilapidated former aerodrome site, were joined at the exclusive Mayfair venue by some of the biggest names in British show-business, including Jason Isaacs, Stephen Poliakoff and Nick Moran.

Barry Meyer, chairman of Warner Brothers, said the studio would become one of the most important in world cinema, creating hundreds of jobs and boosting the local economy for generations to come.

Watford will kick Saracens out regardless

Watford Observer:

The Barnet Copthall plans

Watford have stated Saracens will be leaving Vicarage Road next summer regardless of whether their move to Barnet Copthall Stadium goes ahead as planned.

The rugby club, who have been based at Watford’s ground since 1997, held a press conference expressing their desire to move to Copthall Stadium before the start of next season.

Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths and chairman Nigel Wray were both reluctant to discuss what the club would do if the plans were not passed in time or whether they could stay at Vicarage Road beyond this season if needed.

However, Watford have their ground at the end of this season regardless of whether the Copthall Stadium plans are passed or if the development is ready in time.

Fans find the 'unknown' Terry Challis

Watford Observer:

Football fans flooded to Watford Museum to see an exhibition dedicated to the work of late Hornets fan and Watford Observer cartoonist Terry Challis.

For more than 30 years, Terry's humorous take on Watford FC was a regular feature in this newspaper's sports pages, until he passed away in October last year.

However, members of the public are now able to discover another side to the talented artist by viewing “the unknown Terry Challis” at the Lower High Street museum.

On Saturday, club chairman Graham Taylor joined Terry's family – partner Barbara Butcher and stepdaughter Linda Butcher – for the official opening, before chatting to visitors.

Among the lifelong Hornets fan's less well-known works are abstract, cubist and impressionist paintings.


Long-awaited regeneration plans to be unveiled

Watford Observer:

Residents of South Oxhey will be able to see the long-awaited plans for a huge regeneration scheme this week.

Countryside Properties and Home Group will be unveiling the plans on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14.

Senior Liberal Democrats at Three Rivers District Council said they wanted 45 per cent of the homes created in the South Oxhey Initiative to be affordable, but the Watford Observer understands the proposed figure is just 96 - little more than 20 per cent.

Sources have indicated Three Rivers District Council will make £3.2 million from the scheme, which is valued between £120-150 million.

The latest proposals will be unveiled to businesses and residents, who will also be able to talk to representatives about the plans.

Bonfire night celebrations go off with a bang

Watford Observer:

A crowd of more than 20,000 braved the rain on Saturday to enjoy the Cassiobury Park Bonfire Night celebrations.

The evening of entertainment included refreshments, rides and a 20-minute fireworks display for the grand finale.

Spectators praised another "wonderful" show.

Roy McDonald said: "What a wonderful display yet again for the mass crowds at Cassiobury park."

Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said the event gets "bigger and better" every year.

Watford park nominated in UK's Best Park Awards

Watford Observer:

A popular Watford park has been nominated for a national award.

Cassiobury Park is in the running for UK’s Best Park in the annual Fields in Trust awards.

The winner is decided by the public and supporters have got until November 25 to cast their vote online.

The park, which has around 800,000 visits a year, is the largest open space in Watford comprising of more than 190 acre of green space stretching from Watford town centre to woodland and countryside to the west of the town.