A new flagship department store for Watford and an American rap store were among the stories making our headlines five and ten years ago this week


Revealed: New Watford department store planned for Charter Place extension

The mystery retailer earmarked to move into the proposed multi-million pound extension of Charter Place has been revealed.

General manager of intu Watford Howard Oldstein told the Watford Observer that Debenhams had signed on the dotted line, adding: “With John Lewis and Marks & Spencer already anchoring intu Watford, we wanted to add an additional anchor as part of our development plans that would complement our existing and future retail mix."

The long awaited £100 million redevelopment, which is being undertaken by intu, started at the beginning of November.

The demolition is expected to last for up to four months. Workman have already remove all the benches, litter bins, paving slabs and cycle racks.

Once complete next year, the new building will house up to 16 shops, 10 restaurants and a nine-screen IMAX cinema.

New nightclub to open in Watford

Watford Observer: Dancers outside the clubDancers outside the club

A much anticipated new Watford nightclub is set to open next week.

Hydeout, in The Parade, will have three themed rooms which will hold up to 1,200 people.

The club, which has branded itself the "most quirkiest and unique event space in Hertfordshire", will be open on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays with admissions starting from £5.

The club will be the second in the town, and takes the place of Cameo.

Families could be forced out of South Oxhey as new figures reveal there will be even less social housing in redevelopment scheme

Watford Observer: How South Oxhey could look under the schemeHow South Oxhey could look under the scheme

Families may be priced out of living in South Oxhey as new details reveal there will be even less social housing on the estate.

Plans for the South Oxhey Initiative were submitted earlier this month and included 96 social homes.

Three Rivers District Council and Countryside Properties are using a grant from the HCA to build 48 social homes on the satellite sites in Hallowes Crescent and Maylands Road.

But one condition of that grant being issued to the council is that the social housing – homes provided by the government, councils or other non-profit organisations – will be converted into affordable housing once the first tenancy comes to an end.

This means the price of those 48 homes will rise to 80 per cent of the market rate once someone moves or dies, leaving just 48 socially rented homes in South Oxhey.

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Gareth Malone hangs up conductor's baton in South Oxhey

Watford Observer: Gareth Malone with the South Oxhey choirGareth Malone with the South Oxhey choir

South Oxhey Choirs, made famous by a BBC television programme in 2009, has recruited a new musical director.

The group of singers became the talk of the nation when they were featured on “The Choir”, a documentary featuring conductor Gareth Malone, as he attempted to bring the town together through music.

Now, Mr Malone is stepping down from his position as musical director to embark on a new series of The Choir, this time set in the South West.

Following two years in the position, Mr Malone will take up the role of patron of the organisation as it completes its transition to registered charity.

Rapper Nicki Minaj hosting Pink party

American rapper Nicki Minaj will visit Watford this week

The hip-hop singer/songwriter from New York will make a personal appearance during The Nicki Minaj Pink Oceana Party at Oceana nightclub, in The Parade, according to the nightclub's website.

Her debut album, Pink Friday, recently went platinum.

Ellington tells Watford fans he is sorry

Watford Observer: Nathan Ellington joined Preston North End on loan. Credit: Action ImagesNathan Ellington joined Preston North End on loan. Credit: Action Images

Nathan Ellington has apologised to the Watford fans but described claims he only joined the club for money as “nonsense”.

Ellington became Watford’s most expensive signing when he joined the club for £3.25million in August 2007 with the club hoping the striker would help fire the Hornets back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.

But the 29-year-old will almost certainly not play for Watford again after agreeing his third loan move away from Vicarage Road since joining the club three-and-a-half seasons ago.

When asked if he had a message for the Hornets fans, Ellington replied: “I just want to tell the fans that I am sorry I did not get to show them the Nathan Ellington they saw at other clubs.

“I think the circumstances contributed to it but I wish them all the best. Watford are doing really well and I wish Malky Mackay and my friends there all the best.”