High-Rise Over-Development Mania In Watford

Large crowd sceneIf you are finding it oppressive living in the shadow of high rise developments, science agrees with you.

Professor Colin Ellard, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has conducted tests which confirm that living surrounded by tall buildings produces a “substantial” negative impact on mood.

Here is your opportunity to say how you feel about the never-ending construction works that have been plaguing residents of Watford in recent years.

If you have had enough of all the high-rise buildings continually springing up in our town, and feel like Watford has become just one big building site, then take this opportunity to have your say.

Leave a comment below and let us know how you feel about the constant cycle of demolition followed by high-rise construction.

46 Comments

  1. The professor is right! Watford is rapidly becoming a depressing place to be. I’m sure the fat cat developers who are destroying our town don’t have to put up with the same conditions where they are! They certainly don’t live in Watford.

    The council should start to listen to people in the area and understand that we are sick to death of all the construction work going on. Why they are letting the town be destroyed is a complete mystery.

  2. Dinah Lee says:

    I’m totally fed up with the high-rise jungle that Watford is becoming. It is destroying the character of the town and becoming a place to avoid which is a travesty since Watford used to be a lovely family-oriented town. The Council should man-up and put a stop to the corporate greed of these developers before it is too late.

  3. I’m so fed up with all this building work, it has been carrying on for such a long time now in Watford. All the noise you have to put up with from early morning to late at night. Please do we really need all these offices now working from home is the new form of working. And no more hotels! Do we need ANYMORE!

  4. Paul Carvajal says:

    These are being built often against local council decisions as on St Albans Road. Now a new plan to replace Cassio House on Station Road threatens the residential area behind with a 13 storey building. The disregard of the character of the town and the well being of the community couldn’t be clearer. A local residents association has formed to oppose this. Hopefully Watford can develop with this civic spirit not developments that have none.

    1. It’s good to know we are all like minded. I expressed my concerns to Watford Mayor who wasn’t concerned at all about over development.
      I find it all so depressing that we are expected to live in such a once very pretty town with lots of charm and character.
      It’s all being destroyed and we are being absolutely suffocated.
      These fat cats and their big fat wallets don’t have to live here, they have their green open spaces to relax in while we become more and inclosed and have more green space and green belt taken away.
      Watford football Stadium to built on Bushey green belt land because Watford has over developed!!!!
      This has all got out of hand and if the we do t put up a fight make ourselves heard we will be lost in a sprawling potential ghetto/slum area, many parts are looking that way as it is.
      Our town has been destroyed by those who don’t care and I don’t like it here anymore and can’t see a future in this now eyesore.
      It’s not a town centre anymore…. it’s a housing estate and it’s going to get worse and it will be an uncomfortable to live.
      Shame on you WBC, your actions are abhorrent and the Mayor doesn’t do enough!!!!

  5. Having seen the recent articles in the Watford Observer about a number of planing applications about to be made for more high rise development in the centre of Watford I can only applaude the setting up of an action group to question the proposed Cassiobury House development . It is a complete puzzle why more office or hotel space is being proposed within a residential area. Surely we need more family homes and amenities not more empty office space? The maths just doesn’t add up. The recent flyer I have seen from the action group sets out the arguements very neatly – if we don’t start objecting loudly we will be presented with a 13 storey monolith

  6. The last thing Watford needs is more hotels! We have been inundated. And no more offices, please!!! The proposed development site is quite high enough! Why not some affordable flats with consideration given to those living in them ie NOT high rise but pleasant. Watford is a town for people. We have Clarendon Road and the business park. Given the roads that is as much as we can cope with if green targets are to be approached, let alone met!!!

  7. Jo Ann Baker says:

    Watford is overflowing with development. Planning need to consider the full impact this has on our town, residents and businesses.
    Cassio house is set to become a 13 story building bringing more disturbances to all
    As a community this is devastating and the need is questionable
    Act before it’s too late and please support local residents in this fight

  8. Having read the information and comments above i must agree the writers. I was born in Watford and over the many years since it has grown out of proportion. I understand that it has to develop into a larger town but does it have to develop into a taller town and at the moment it has developed into a very tall town. If these people want tall building why cant they go further out of town. I think the council should put a limit on the amount of floors a building middle of town in what was a lovely residential area until the last few year. People who have their homes in the area now have to put up with all the dust and fumes from the buildings either being pulled down or put up and i some cases really affecting their health. Why should the life and health be affected because of a few greedy developers.

  9. I first came to Watford with my wife quite a few years ago now. It was a busy town but still kept its airy feel. We have visited the town on many occasions since and I can’t believe how it has changed. In the area where my relatives live has become very grey, dusty and claustrophobic. It must be horrible to live in that feeling after having a lovely home with fresh air and sunshine. A place where you could open your windows for fresh air to come in the home and not dust and fumes as there is now. Come on Watford council get your finger out and give these people who were living there before all this building going on their lives back.

  10. The overdevelopment of Watford is getting ridiculous, there are already too many offices in the area that are empty and the need for another hotel is questionable with so many in the direct vicinity.
    As a local resident who moved to the area to enjoy a family oriented town, it is so disappointing that these high rise blocks keep being approved when they are so out of character to the surrounding mainly Victorian homes.
    The Cassio House development is to be 13 stories which is completely ridiculous when so close to residential roads. How can a change of use from an office to a hotel, restaurant and offices seem remotely reasonable when it will be metres from peoples homes. Aside from the planned height being too tall, the impact from the development being a hotel is huge on neighbouring properties; Overlooked by 24/7 occupancy, increase in noise and further traffic in residential streets.
    If this development gets approved on its current plan , it will set a further benchmark of what will be deemed acceptable height, so before we know it Central Watford will be full of even more tower blocks overlooking residential streets. Watford Council should start considering the impact these developments have on residents.

  11. We are being enveloped/engulfed by commercial building creep. The TK Max HQ seems to have set the new benchmark in how high buildings can grow to and as a result more and more acquired light is being lost by local residents. Build more, Build Higher and disregard the impact on the local community and infrastructure. This seems to be the new Mission Statement of the Watford Council. Let’s hope they listen to the residents of Watford and change the outcome. Carl M.

  12. How much more residential and commercial development can we cram into central Watford. Every space is being used up and not a sign of improved infrastructure to support. Watford Council push back on government targets and think of new alternate solutions.

  13. How many more “luxury” 1 and 2 bed high-rise block does Watford need ???.
    The over development of the town is totally out of hand and Watford council are ignoring the voices of local residents.
    At 13 storeys high the TKMAXX building is looming over all residents in the area and using that building as a height benchmark for more development in Watford Junction is extremely concerning.

    Watford already has number of large hotels extremely close to one another… do we really need another !?

  14. I was shocked to receive the newsletter of yet another large development being proposed in Watford Junction.
    As a local resident I feel we are being encircled by large blocks of unattractive flats and ultra high rise buildings at an alarming speed.
    TKMAXX is vacating a number of large offices on Clarendon Road, why would you not redevelop one of those large spaces where it is in keeping in height with its neighbours instead of building directly against the family homes in the surrounding roads ?.
    Watford council has a lack respect for its residents and the town is changing at a rapid rate and not for the better .

  15. As a local resident I am really looking forward to opening my blinds in the morning to another 13 story hotel/ office block in front of me and another one to the right; TK MAXX. Is Watford trying to twin with Hong Kong, I wonder. 168 bedrooms, can the developers explain why this many are needed when The Quaters 100 yards away has a floor turned into rentable rooms as they obviously couldn’t fill them normally. Why are we under siege from high rise buildings, affordable housing yes, more hotels and offices no.

    1. Ann Bridger says:

      Watford Town centre is certainly not my first choice to shop, I will avoid it at any cost.
      A concrete jungle, not an inviting place to be.

  16. Robert Baker says:

    It’s not a pleasure to live or visit Watford anymore. The town is so commercial and too built up. The shops are struggling, the market non existent. Stop developing and improve what already exists

  17. Jon Baker says:

    The targets set by government need to be questioned where all developments in Watford are concerned before it’s too late.
    What was once a thriving town with lots of character is now large towering buildings for flats and businesses. Many not fully occupied

  18. Will Baker says:

    The targets set by government need to be questioned where all developments in Watford are concerned before it’s too late.
    What was once a thriving town with lots of character is now large towering buildings for flats and businesses. Many not fully occupied

  19. George Baker says:

    For goodness sake, how many more large development projects do we have to endure. Surely with the prospect of more people working from home and lots of empty office space available in the town centre we don’t need more !
    The council should clamp down

  20. Olivia Baker says:

    When all available space has been gobbled up, will Cassiobury park come under threat.
    We need to put the brakes on and utilise what we have.
    Beautiful flats use to be on the Clarendon road replaced by block after block of office space. Now these are being either changed back to residential with little character- just much higher. Or demolish and replaced with refurbed office space WHY ?
    Station road and the surrounding area are prime targets to continue in this way. No space for family homes. No infra structure to cope with all that is simultaneously going on. The individuals who sit on committees and contribute towards these decisions should come and walk round our small town and experience what we live with

  21. Feli Diaz says:

    Current council need to go. The whole lot. Not working for our town. Clueless, gutless,spineless people.
    Not fit for purpose.

  22. susan clay says:

    If I write all my objections/reasons it will take forever I had written a list but your page ‘crashed’ maybe it didn’t like my comments suffice it to say the town is losing/had lost it heart from a friendly personal centre it has become a concrete over developed one stop before it goes any further. homes and lives are being seriously adversely affected this is injurious to health and mental health . losing light , air looking out at even at a short distance towering impersonal blocs is claustrophobic , .
    the local population moved into pleasant areas now to be encircled by high rise buildings .. I like many, already have a constant view of the to be completed Tk Max monstrosities with lights on all night visible from my living and bedrooms i am not referring to the hazard lights on the cranes.
    the light and general pollution is on the increase in times when we are being asked to cut back on pollutants obviously it doesn’t apply to money making developers who create mess and leave behind tower blocks many of which will never be filled there are already empty office blocks up- date those .. following lock down it has already been found that many people will and can continue to work from home why do we need more empty office blocks? also the town cannot handle any more incoming daily traffic.. another cause of increased pollution.,, I suppose the answer will be lets build more tower blocks of high rise flats putting a further strain on the services and environment.. please stop now before we reach the point of no return and the town is no longer a healthy/suitable or pleasant place in which to live…

    1. Myles Sinclair says:

      I am sorry you experienced a glitch when leaving a comment Susan. I appreciate you taking the time to give it another go! You along with everyone else has made excellent points regarding the over-developing of Watford. I hope the Council will take note of the strength of feeling shown by residents regarding this matter.

  23. Helena Rose says:

    How many more developments are you planning on shoehorning into this area? The news of new development after new development really is making me strongly consider other areas to move to, with a council that listens to the residents instead of grabbing their ankles to meet government targets.

  24. George Moorhouse says:

    Development after development, building after building this only gives to us the endless drone of continuous construction. More shadows over head that block the sun.

  25. We moved to Watford in 1967 to get away from London. As soon as we moved here they started building the the one way system. It seems that the council have not stopped changing our town since then I hate Watford now. Its a concrete jungle. I feel so sorry for the people living near the town centre all the noise dust etc

  26. Anne Troughton says:

    Watford is now a concrete jungle.
    It concerns me deeply to see so many flats being built but not many, if any, new schools or GP surgeries to meet the demand of catering for more people. Also having a lot more traffic on the roads and cars parked on both sides of many streets. Makes me want to move away from Watford to a less populated place

    1. Hi Anne, I totally agree, but I fear it’s too late. Watford had so many iconic buildings. Some wonderful Art Deco buildings, all destroyed. So sad. I was born in Watford (-?!/’v) many years ago.
      Are you Anne from the U3A philosophy group?

  27. I live close to Watford Junction and am dismayed by the amount of high rise development happening in this area, particularly the plan to build 11 high rises on the Range and TK Max site. Two will be 28 storeys high! Only 300 parking spaces and a tiny allocation for social housing. Outrageous greed on the part of the developers and the Council.

  28. The need for new offices and luxury homes which are not affordable is completely unnecessary. There is plenty of vacant office space as it is. The transport infrastructure cannot cope with increasing traffic volumes and the overpopulation of the area.

    Not to mention the suffering of local wildlife as habitat is destroyed and fragmented. All these property developers care about is the money they can make. With remote working the way forward who needs giant offices anyway ? The town planning depart are not fit for purpose seeing as they seem constantly in the pockets of the developers. The debacle at Aldenham Reservoir is another prime example.

  29. As residents of this area it’s difficult to summon up any enthusiasm for these sorts of developments which seem to be coming in thick and fast. The hideous building proposed will tower over a range of attractive Victorian houses in Station Road, including a listed building at no 6, and the original railway hotel, now called O’Neills.

    It’s the modern stuff built in each decade since the 1960s which is out of keeping with the old, but this is Watford of course – “Audentior – be bold. If it’s old knock it down, if it’s green grub it up”.

    Leaving aside the monstrous scale of the proposal and the impact that the works themselves will have on residents in terms of noise, dirt, pollution and additional traffic, there are umpteen unoccupied offices in central Watford so the need for more is unclear. It seems likely that in a post Covid-19 world the demand for office space is likely to diminish nationally and the town will have glut of premises unlet.

    But if more space is needed it might be more sensible to re-purpose the latest white elephant – Debenhams and part of the Intu centre – into an office block and hotel.

    And talking of ‘tired’ and ugly buildings isn’t it time that the YMCA, which is a total blight on the town when viewed from any direction, was razed and replaced with something fit for the 21st century.

  30. Barry Plews says:

    Urging the town planners to take action to stem the over development will have little or no effect whilst central government overrides and reverses local decisions. My observation is that there does not seem to be a master plan for the development of the town and environs. All the development is piecemeal and ad hoc. A clear thought through plan could have central government support with developers required to ensure their proposals comply with the detail. For example to tackle the problem the town has with parking the master plan should make underground parking mandatory in line with the number of people using the building instead of pushing the problem into nearby streets as is already happening with the Range/TKMaxx site. The master plan can set strict and enforceable controls on noise, pollution and disruption during the building stages. This Is badly needed for control of residential developments where contractors vehicles choke roads and block driveways without any intervention from the town planning staff.
    We have a new MP who cares about Watford and his constituents perhaps he could start the ball rolling with central government and developers, especially those that are major contributors to his party’s funding.

  31. Clive Bennett says:

    I agree with all the comments made. If the building is old and tired, why cannot the owners refurbish it into luxury flats, with Landscaping. That would cost less money, less inconvenience to the residents, and less materials having to go to landfill. Station road is already a busy road, with the station etc. I think the Watford planning department, should study a map of our town, to see how all this over development, is ruining our town, for visitors, and most importantly the people and families that live here.

  32. Our Mayor has stated that he wants Watford to be “vibrant”. The unsuitable buildings nowadays being erected all over our town hardly make for vibrancy. The most recent of these is the awful bridge across Clarendon Road. We do not wish our town to resemble Canary Wharf and the feeling of claustrophobia which it engenders is most unwelcome. It is becoming increasingly difficult to see the sky and sightlines are constantly broken by inappropriate buildings which almost literally “hit between the eyebrows”. As one walks Watford’s streets, especially when approaching from the town’s outskirts, I am beginning to experience an intensely unpleasant feeling of disappointment and foreboding, along with the vanishing skyline.

  33. The new TK max building has already given us two and a half years of misery. I can no longer see the sky from my bedroom window. I have had enough of living in a construction site. Leave Cassiobury House alone!

  34. Evelyne B says:

    I agree with all the comments that have been made so far. There is no need for such a huge building in the vicinity + a hotel when there are enough capacity for these in the town. There is also a lot of office space which is empty so why add more ? The disruption would be unbearable especially after the noise and the dust we have had to struggle with for three years or so with the TK Max building which is not yet finished.
    There is obviously the problem of privacy for the residents of Canterbury road and us on Westland road. It would be good not to squeeze the residents of the area and force them to leave it for quieter towns. I remember Watford being one of those ! Please give us back the joy of living in a town where quality of life and community spirit are restored For good.

  35. I’ve just submitted the following comments on this development to Watford BC.

    Recent buildings erected in this area of Watford have all been incredibly ugly, and their designs intrusive and oppressive for local residents who have to look at them. The scale and the design of the proposed building is incompatible with the character of the period residential dwellings in the adjacent streets, and the privacy of residents, the outlook from their dwellings, and traffic flow in the area will all be compromised by this development and its planned usage, to the detriment of those who live here. Is there pressing need for any more hotel accommodation in this area given that there are already two Holiday Inns, a Jurys Inn, and the Quarters?

    Building work locally has been non-stop for the past five years, with constant disturbance for residents, as well as interminable intrusive noise, dirt and dust, traffic disruption, and the removal of mature trees and other greenery. The builders of the TK Maxx building in Clarendon Road pride themselves on being ‘considerate’. By what measure and to whom? They are incredibly noisy and seem to work for 10 hours on weekdays, every Saturday and on some Sundays as well. Westland Road is currently a rat run for construction vehicles associated with the various adjacent construction sites. Who chooses to live in a permanent building site, and why should residents who have set up homes in this area in good faith have this misery imposed on them year after year?

    For those who have to live adjacent to this glass and concrete hellhole, particularly during the recent lockdown, the disruption has been intolerable, but of course the mental well-being of residents was never going to be a consideration. There are also significant blinding reflections at sunset from the glass façade facing Westland Road. Doubtless all of these issues will be replicated with the demolition and rebuilding proposed at 11-19 Station Road.

    The developers claim that the current building is ‘tired’. Most of the recently built commercial buildings in Watford are ‘tired’. Clarendon Road is a mish-mash of hideous and soulless architecture which ages badly as soon as it’s built but that’s not an excuse to add yet more. There seem to be plenty of vacant offices already and given changing working patterns there will doubtless be further departures. Why does Watford need to build more offices within residential areas?

    Just a thought but following the demise of John Lewis and Debenhams perhaps Cassio Watford Limited, with the Council’s blessing, could develop their monster office and hotel complex within the Intu centre instead. There’s plenty of space, which is unlikely to be filled in the coming years, with carparks already in situ.

  36. Clive Jones says:

    High rise buildings whose architectural style has no connection with their location, surrounded by swathes of tarmac and car parking. This trend completely changes the feel of Watford. No more the sort of place where you know your neighbours. The town is becoming like Croydon, ie just an extension of London.
    People, remember this when you next vote!
    We need a sustainable Watford where residents actually have a voice, and not a town that is merely the plaything for venture capital fund’s money making schemes.

  37. It’s so good to see so many like minded people who care about
    The overdevelopment and destruction of a beautiful town..
    The council leadership is pathetic
    and have their own dubious interests…

    I salute the people running this campaign

  38. Watford doesn’t need anymore ugly, out of proportion development and we certainly shouldn’t be losing mature trees. Watford council should start looking more at family, quality of life and not corporate development and pound signs.

  39. Susthama Kim says:

    There are already plenty of hotels in Watford and the investment would be better spent in preserving existing buildings and using sites for affordable accommodation for existing families in need. This town needs more community investment for the people who live and work here.

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