Here is our weekly look back at a selection of stories that were making our headlines five and ten years ago this week.


Hospital chief admits a bigger A&E department is needed

Hospital chiefs admit they need a bigger A&E unit after it reached crisis point.

The lack of beds and over-stretched services forced West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust to suspend services for adults with minor injuries or illnesses several times this week.

Patients have faced long waits to see a doctor and others have described how there were trolleys queuing up outside the A&E ward with patients waiting to be seen.

David Gaunt, divisional director for unscheduled care at Watford General Hospital, admitted the hospital needs a bigger A&E department to cope with patient demand.

New hotel in Rickmansworth would boost economy and create jobs

Watford Observer: Travis Perkins RickmansworthTravis Perkins Rickmansworth

A business leader says a new hotel would create jobs and boost the economy by hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.

An 88-bed hotel could be built on a plot of land currently used by builders’ merchants Travis Perkins in Church Street, Rickmansworth.

The developer has approached Three Rivers District Council for pre-application advice about it.

While a planning application has not been submitted, Nina Hosking, chairman of Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, described the move as “really exciting news”, adding that hotel visitors would spend money in the town.

Standstill: Watford sits in gridlock traffic as gas works cause travel chaos

Watford Observer: Watford traffic jamsWatford traffic jams

Gas works have caused traffic chaos on main roads through Watford.

Motorists are reporting 300 yard journeys taking an hour after Hertfordshire County Council closed part of Wiggenhall Road for gas main work between Lammas Road and Blackwell Drive.

Work is expected to last five weeks and make up the next phase of the link road to the proposed Health Campus.

Those living near Watford Fields said the works were an “accident waiting to happen” as motorists continue to avoid the diversion signs and drive down Watford Fields Road.


Watford still in takeover talks with initial investor

Watford are still in advanced talks about a potential takeover despite ending discussions with one consortium because the group was headed up by a convicted fraudster.

The Watford Observer understands the Hornets board had been in talks with two parties but negotiations with a consortium were ended when it became clear the front man, Paul Anthony Garland, had been jailed for two-and-a-half years in 2006 after pleading guilty to 11 counts of obtaining money and property by deception.

The Guardian newspaper reported the consortium had planned to move Watford away from Vicarage Road but we understand the issue was not discussed with the Hornets board.

Watford are unable to comment on the potential takeover due to Stock Exchange rules but we understand Garland had only been calling himself Paul Anthony and talks ended immediately when his true identity came to light.

Garland’s consortium was not the investor who entered discussions with the major shareholders late last year and it is understood takeover talks are still ongoing.

'When you get to the top it's so worth it'

Watford Observer: Matthew LomaxMatthew Lomax

A young adventurer from Croxley Green, keen to follow in the footsteps of famous explorers, has been given two prestigious awards in the same year.

Matt Lomax, of Baldwins Lane, became a Queen's Scout, the highest award in Scouting, after three years of preparation.

Only 500 of the coveted awards are given out a year, for which participants must complete a number of endurance and expeditionary tasks.

The 19-year-old student was also awarded the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold award, a similarly challenging feat, in 2010.

Eastenders star films controversial storyline in Bushey

EastEnders star Sam Womack was filming scenes for a controversial storyline at a Bushey church.

Womack, who plays Ronnie Branning in the BBC soap opera, was spotted filming at St James' Church, in High Street.

The church has been used on at least two previous occasions as a filming location for the show.

More than 12,000 complaints were sent to the BBC about the cot-death storyline, for which the scenes were being shot, while television watchdog Ofcom received 500.