An obscene piece of graffiti, a petition against the building of the tallest building in Watford, plans for a new skate park and a sneak preview of a new tourist attraction were among the stories making the headlines in the Watford Observer five and ten years ago this week.


Penis drawn around pothole to make the council take action

A pothole on a Watford road has been adorned with an obscene piece of graffiti in an attempt to get the crater repaired more quickly.

The pothole in Fearnley Street was recently outlined with a crude yellow penis accompanied by a plea to “fix me”.

Watford Observer:

The pothole on Fearnley Street has been 'under review' since November

The vigilante’s tag appears in a similar vein to that of a “road artist” called “Wanksy”, who uses drawings of penises to “highlight the dangerous potholes that damage our vehicles and harm cyclists on a daily basis” and get them fixed more urgently.

According to the fault logging system on Hertfordshire County Council’s website, a fault of “rough, uneven of crazing surface” was reported at the spot of the pothole on November 15 last year.

However the website says it is still currently “under review” by engineers.

Watford Observer:

An artist’s impression of the new development. Credit: ESA Architecture

Petition set up against proposed tower block

A petition has been set up to oppose the building of a 25-storey tower block in Watford, which is part of a wider project to provide 485 homes.

The Croxley Green Residents Association said it won't be in keeping with surrounding buildings in Ascot Road, and there isn't the infrastructure to support it.

They said the development is on an unprecedented scale for Watford and will have a devastating effect on the surrounding area.

Petitioners say the building of almost 500 apartments will result in major traffic disruption and there isn't enough allocated parking.

Watford Observer:

Revealed: Plans for new skate park and BMX track in Watford

Preliminary plans have been unveiled for a skate park and BMX pump track at a park in Oxhey.

Watford Borough Council hopes to transform the area north of the River Colne in Oxhey Park, which includes the former Irish Centre, into a “family-focused centre for cycling, skateboarding and play” to be known as Oxhey Park North.

As well as the segregated skate park and BMX track which will be ringed by a 1km cycle track, the area will also contain a small cycle training area for children, outdoor table tennis tables, a new riverside café complete with community facilities and toilets, and wetland areas within the parkland setting.

According to the council, the plans provide a “great opportunity” to open up walking and cycling routes through the park and along the River Colne.


Watford Observer:

Sneak preview of the Making of Harry Potter Tour

Warner Bros is giving a sneak preview of the completed Making of Harry Potter Tour at Leavesden Studios.

The attraction, which opens March 31, will be one of the largest studio tours in Europe.

It will feature original sets including the Hogwarts Great Hall, the Gryffindor Common Room, Ministry of Magic, the Knight Bus, Hogwarts Castle and headmaster Dumbledore's office, plus costumes, props and special effects used in all Harry Potter movies.

Historic boat ship-shape after restoration completed

Work to restore a historic narrow-boat, based in Rickmansworth, has been completed.

Last year Rickmansworth Waterways Trust was faced with the task of having to raise £30,000 for a major conservation project on the "Roger".

Since publishing the appeal money flooded in from the Art Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Three Rivers District Council.

Jem Bates of Tring started working on the boat in January, replacing timbers affected by rot, including the stem post, bottom planking and other parts of the bow.

Other non-structural jobs have been undertaken by trust volunteers in the past two months.

Watford Observer:

Natasha with Will Rolfe from Andover who won the Championship Agility Large

Dog trainer picks up top prize at Crufts

A Rickmansworth dog trainer and her five-year-old Border Collie have picked up a top prize at Crufts.

Natasha Wise and Dizzy took home the Championship Agility Medium award at the prestigious competition on March 11.

The 29-year-old and her dog, also know by kennel name Raennes Flipping Heck beat the four other finalists, including Rebecca Patrick with My Dream Come True and Nancy Hudson with Obay Tiz Zensational.

The healthcare manager said: “Everything went to plan with our routine, it was a dream run actually and against a good international field it feels lovely to have finished on top.”

Crufts is one of the largest dog events in the world, first set up in 1891 by Charles Cruft, and is now organised by the Kennel Club.