The redevelopment of a former pub and the decision of a headteacher to leave her role to help refugees were among the stories making our headlines ten and five years ago this week.


Residents express anger at 'bizarre' planning decision

Residents and councillors have expressed their anger at a "bizarre" decision to grant permission for a block of flats on the site of a former Bushey pub.

Proposals to build a three-storey block of flats on the site of the former Otter Pub, in Bushey Mill Lane, were twice rejected by the Bushey and Aldenham planning committee, in September 2009 and June 2010.

But on the second appeal, planning inspectors overturned the committee's decision.

Councillor Roger Kutchinsky (Bushey North, Liberal Democrats) said: "I think it's a completely bizarre decision.

"I'm shocked and disappointed the planning inspector decided to overrule us. This is an example of us being dictated to by central government and it is a monstrosity."

Church moves into new £1.8million home

Watford Observer: The Watford Community Church staffThe Watford Community Church staff

A church wants to bring “help and hope” to Watford after moving into its new £1.8million building.

The Wellspring Church Centre, in Lower High Street, is the new home of Watford Community Church, after spending the last 20 years at Watford Grammar School for Girls.

The building, on the site of the former Watford Springs swimming pool, boasts a two-storey glass front with a spire on its roof.

The window, which overlooks Watford Fields, features a cross created with stained glass panels.

Plans for 'community' market revealed

Traders and councillors have raised concerns that the rise of "specialist” and “community” outdoor markets in Watford will hurt the fortunes of the town's indoor market.

Watford Borough Council will host a series of “speciality markets” beginning in May this year, each lasting three days from Friday to Sunday.

The four markets will see French food, horticultural, Italian food and Christmas items for sale in The Parade, from Clarendon Road towards Gade car park.

They will be run by an independent operator, using equipment bought with an £80,000 grant won last year.


Headteacher set to ‘make difference’ helping refugees

Watford Observer: Dame Helen Hyde opening the academy’s Geodesic DomeDame Helen Hyde opening the academy’s Geodesic Dome

An acclaimed headteacher has announced she is leaving her job to help refugees coming into Watford.

Watford Grammar School for Girls headteacher Dame Helen Hyde, said she could not be a bystander anymore, having spent her career teaching people to help others.

The headteacher, who has led the school in Lady's Close for 29 years, made the announcement last week in a statement to parents on Facebook.

She said: “I know it would be easy to stay in post for a few more years. I would enjoy the work as well take the school further. However I am a strong believer in change and challenge.

“I am a Holocaust educator and have spent many years encouraging others to take action, to make a change and not to be a ‘bystander’. The world is very troubled and I need to try to make a small difference.

“I need to try to help even if only in a small way. Now is the time to take action.

"I need to do what I have always taught and take a step into the unknown, hopefully making life better for the refugees in Watford.”

Watford Parade shortlisted for award

Watford Observer: The Parade in WatfordThe Parade in Watford

A local authority's transformation of a street in the town centre has made it a contender for a prize for design.

Watford Parade is one nominee shortlisted in the design excellence category of this year's Building Futures Awards.

The 15,000m² parade was designed by BDP architects for Watford Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council.

A new street layout was created by removing an access road and creating a pedestrian and cycling shared space.

The pond has been transformed with a more redefined shape, variation in the edges, new filtration system, a feature bridge and decking area.

More than 100 homes could be built near Mill End

Watford Observer: Credit: Google street viewCredit: Google street view

More than 100 homes could be built on a plot of land on the outskirts of Mill End.

Developers want to build 122 homes on a plot of land between the Grand Union Canal and the River Colne, along Springwell lane.

Plans submitted to Hillingdon Council show developers want to build 40 four-bed houses, 18 three-bed houses and 74 flats.