These are all the updates to the major planning applications in the Watford area in January.

Significant proposals ranged from a £1 billion data centre near Abbots Langley, to plans for a second Wagamama location and the demolition of a vicarage.

With so many developments popping up every week, check out some of the biggest changes below that you may have missed.

Abbots Langley data centre

On January 18, Three Rivers District Council’s planning committee rejected a proposal for a £1 billion hyperscale data centre in a field alongside Bedmond Road and the M25 in Abbots Langley.

Councillors said the scale of the project was  “inappropriate” in a green belt context, following a 94-page officer report recommending permission be refused.

Watford Observer: CGI of how the data centre would have looked. CGI of how the data centre would have looked. (Image: Pegasus Group/Greystoke Land/Three Rivers District Council)

A spokesperson for the applicant Greystoke Land said it was “disappointed” with the council’s decision.

Watford Observer: The site and country park area.The site and country park area. (Image: Greystoke Land)

Little Cassiobury House

Xen Maintenance Group submitted a planning application to carry out “like for like” repairs on Little Cassiobury House, one of Watford’s most historic buildings, before it has even purchased it.

Hertfordshire County Council put the Grade II* listed building up for sale for £750,000 last year and the deal appears to be nearing completion, despite dragging on for months.

Watford Observer: Little Cassiobury House.Little Cassiobury House. (Image: Little Cassiobury CIC)

According to Companies House, Xen Maintenance Group constructs domestic buildings and engages in other building completion and finishing.

The firm's director is also director of Xen Developments LTD and Suru Holdings LTD, which are both listed as property developers and real estate agents.

Watford Observer: The interior of the property when it was vacant.The interior of the property when it was vacant. (Image: Little Cassiobury CIC)

Courtlands Close flats

Plans to add an extra floors to two blocks of flats were shot down by Watford Borough Council on January 8 over the space to put new bins.

The two proposals would have added an additional storey at addresses 103 to 114 and 73 to 84 Courtlands Close, in North Watford, adding four one-bedroom flats to each block.

Watford Observer: The existing flats in Courtland Close.The existing flats in Courtland Close. (Image: Google Street View/Maps)

The plans received 35 and 17 objections respectively as neighbours who were against the plan felt that it would be too large and overbearing for the area.

Planning officers felt the cycle and refuse storage area would be difficult to access due to its proximity to the car park, and that it would harm the outlook and daylight for the nearest flat and “could give rise to unwanted odour”.

Kings Langley green belt homes

The Kings Langley & District Residents Association pledged to “fight all the way” after an appeal was launched on January 9 over controversial rejected plans for 135 homes on greenbelt land.

Last October, Dacorum Borough Council refused to give developers permission to build at the Rectory Farm site in Kings Langley after 173 neighbours objected.

Watford Observer: Rectory Farm is green belt land but it is private and closed off for public use.Rectory Farm is green belt land but it is private and closed off for public use. (Image: Kings Langley & District residents Association)

A letter was sent out confirming that the applicant has appealed to the Secretary of State against the council’s decision.


A planning application received on January 5 revealed that Wagamama is set to open a second Watford location as part of a 10 location expansion.

The Japanese restaurant chain applied for permission to hang Wagamama signs outside the former Frankie & Benny’s unit in Woodside Leisure Park, as well as to add  new windows and sliding doors to the shopfront.

Bushey Heath care home

A home in Bushey Heath with “substantial grounds” could be demolished to make way for a 98-bedroom care home, according to a proposal validated by Hertsmere Borough Council on January 23.

If approved, it would see the Greenacres house in Heathbourne Road knocked down and replaced with a new facility of 75 care bedrooms and 12 extra care apartments across two blocks connected via an upper-level link.

Watford Observer: 3D visuals accompanying the proposal for Heathbourne Road. 3D visuals accompanying the proposal for Heathbourne Road. (Image: Hertsmere Borough Council planning portal/Condylofthouse Architects)

St Albans Road offices

A proposal, validated on January 18, seeks to use permitted development rights to reconfigure an office in St Albans Road to create seven flats.

The plans would see two-bedroom flats, two one-bedrooms, and three studios in the building's reconfigured first floor above The Cother Arms and Harry Charles Estate Agents. 

Watford Observer: The office, above The Cother Arms and Harry Charles Estate Agents.The office, above The Cother Arms and Harry Charles Estate Agents. (Image: Stephen Danzig)

Oxhey Lane fly-tipping site

A housing development for a field on Oxhey Lane, Carpenders Park, left “unkempt and untidy” by fly-tipping was blocked by Three Rivers District Council on January 22.

The council refused plans to build eight houses and shared sports facilities on contaminated land known as Valley View Farm.

Watford Observer: The site, by Grims Dyke Golf Course.The site, by Grims Dyke Golf Course. (Image: Google Maps/Canva)

Although the site has “mounds of spoil and fly-tipped material visible”, the council said building the homes would be “directly contrary to the purposes of the green belt”.

Chorleywood greenbelt home

Plans to demolish a home in Chorleywood and replace it with a larger property were refused for the second time by Three Rivers District Council on Thursday, January 11.

The demolition and rebuilding of a house in Solesbridge Lane in Chorleywood will not proceed after the council deemed the proposal to be "inappropriate development" that would be "harmful to the Green Belt".

Watford vicarage

A developer has been given the go-ahead to demolish a Watford vicarage to build eight new homes at the Christchurch Vicarage site in Leggatts Way.

Watford Borough Council granted permission on January 16 for four three-bedroom and four four-bedroom houses to be built, with one being a new vicarage to replace the existing one and seven being normal residential homes.

Former The Upholstery Workshop 

Watford Borough Council blocked permission on January 22 for a closed workshop to be turned into flats.

The former The Upholstery Workshop unit in Orbital Crescent, near where the A41 meets the A405 in Leavesden, was the subject of a notification of change of use application to to turn it into a two-bedroom home.

Dolphina Gymnastics Centre

Proposals were validated on January 2 to change the use of Greycaine Road unit so that it can be re-let for “appropriate commercial and industrial uses” when the current tenant’s lease expires in early 2024.

The unit is currently occupied by Dolphina Gymnastics Centre, which will be moving to events venue Tanners Wood Hall in School Mead, Abbots Langley, from February 19.

Watford Observer: Dolphina Gymnastics Centre location. Dolphina Gymnastics Centre location. (Image: Google Street View)