Our regular look back at the stories that were making the headlines five and ten years ago this week recalls when approval was given to a controversial tower block in Watford, a venue in the town received blue plaque recognition, a revamp of Cassiobury Park was given a major boost and a lorry got stuck in a ditch.


Controversial 24-storey Ascot Road tower block development approved

A controversial housing development, which includes a 24-storey tower block, has been approved by Watford Borough Council.

Property development company Orion had applied to build 485 new homes across five buildings on the site close to Ascot Road in west Watford.

Watford Observer:

A 24-storey tower block is one of the five buildings planned

The proposal was approved this evening (Wednesday) by the council's development management committee by six votes to three.

Watford Observer:

Watford Colosseum is world-renowned for its acoustic qualities

'The finest recording venue in the world': Watford Colosseum awarded blue plaque for world-class acoustics

A blue plaque celebrating a Watford venue’s rich musical heritage has been unveiled.

The soundtracks to The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and The Sound of Music were recorded at Watford Colosseum, which is world-renowned for its acoustic qualities.

Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, who revealed the plaque, tweeted that she was proud to be celebrating the Colosseum’s place in UK musical history.

Built in 1938 as the Assembly Hall, the venue has been described by Julian Lloyd Webber as “the finest recording venue in the world”.

Watford Observer:

Fire service at the scene

Firefighters lead three to safety from blaze at block of flats

Three people were led to safety by firefighters following a fire in block of flat.

An electrical fire started in a flat at Fuller Court, Bushey, at around 10am.

The flats are for elderly people living independently.

One resident, who does not wish to be named, alerted neighbours to the fire after seeing smoke coming from the top of the building.


Cassiobury Park £6m revamp plans move step closer

Plans for a £6m-revamp of Cassiobury Park have moved a step closer to securing lottery funding.

The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Lottery Fund have given initial support to proposals drawn up by Watford Borough Council for the park.

Watford Observer:

The move means the council can take its bid to secure a windfall for the park onto the next stage of the application process.

Development funding of £418,600 has also been awarded to help Watford Borough Council apply for the full lottery grant.

Watford Observer:

Gianfranco Zola

Zola appointment finally confirmed

Watford have finally announced the appointment of Gianfranco Zola as manager.

One of the Hornets' new owners, Gianpaolo Pozzo, was quoted on Monday stating Zola was set to replace Dyche as the new manager.

However, Dyche was not officially sacked until yesterday evening and the club decided to delay the announcement of Zola's appointment until today.

The Hornets technical director Gianluca Nani told the Watford Observer: "Sean did an excellent job for Watford. But we believe Gianfranco Zola is the right person for this project."

Watford Observer:

Recovery vehicle attempts to drag stuck lorry from ditch

Recovery vehicle attempts to drag stuck lorry from ditch

A road in Watford will remain closed for some time while a large van is dragged out of a ditch.

The vehicle became stuck after attempting a three point turn in Tolpits Lane, when the driver realised he would not be able to fit under a low bridge.

A recovery lorry arrived to try and tow the white Volvo box van, but after several attempts to bring the rear wheels onto the road, was unsuccessful.

The van is resting on the bottom of its chassis with its rear wheels not in contact with the ground.