Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill picked up a trowel to perform the Topping Out ceremony of The Wrap, a 164-unit affordable homes development which runs around the Rookery End of the Vicarage Road Stadium.

Mayor Thornhill spread one of the final pieces of concrete at the highest point of the only development of its kind in the country on Wednesday at a traditional ceremony to bless new buildings with good fortune.

Before applying the ‘muck’ at what will be the top of a lift shaft in the north-west corner of the ground, Mayor Thornhill joked about “certain people” she would like to cover with the sloppy grey mass.

The mayor praised stakeholders for having “the bottle” to pursue the development despite objections and said it will provide much-needed housing for the town as part of a new multi-million pound health campus.

She said: “What this means to the people of Watford is they are seeing something happening on our health campus which will be a flagship development for the East of England.

“We need the homes and this key worker and social housing makes it a great day for us. We are going to get people off our waiting lists.”

The Kier London and Origin Housing development of homes for key workers and shared ownership is expected to be completed by the spring.