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ALLOT OF A DIFFERENCE

Posted on: Thu 06 Dec 2007

SUPPORTERS who enter the stadium via the south west corner or at the bottom of Occupation Road will have no doubt seen some changes taking place of late.

A slither of land acquired from the allotments that back onto the Rookery has enabled the key worker housing building work to take place and Watford's Projects Director, Paddy Flavin has expressed his thanks to the allotment holders during his latest update.

The slice of land can be seen in the diagram and although not substantial in size, the club understand wholeheartedly its importance to its owners.

Therefore everyone involved in the project is grateful for their understanding in seeing the bigger picture as to the importance of this project for the people of Watford as the club looks to build 164 key worker houses.

Flavin said: "We started off in our design with a principle that we would not take any allotment land when we first ventured into this scheme to build the key worker housing for Watford General Hospital. But as the months went by it materialised that a small slice had to be acquired.

"Initially and understandably, the allotment holders were suspicious of this, but time has shown that at the end of a couple of years of hard work, we managed to put together a key worker housing scheme that will compliment Watford General Hospital and the Health Campus objectives.

"And in doing so by only taking the absolute minimum allotment land required to make the key worker housing scheme viable, so in effect, we have taken a slice of the northern part of the allotment which will enable the housing to be built.

"We've had tremendous support from the majority of allotment holders who have been most affected and we have had regular meetings with the nine most affected plot holders over the last couple of years. We have also donated £10,000 to enhance the allotment area and to compensate them for the disruption that they have encountered.

"It is not easy to acquire any form of allotment land. The Secretary of State had to approve the acquisition of the slice of land and can only do so with a good case. Once we got the go ahead, it enabled Watford Borough Council to sell us the land at market value.

"We would never have wanted to take any allotment land and it's not in our future plans to require any more, for as we have seen, allotments are key to any social network. So in acquiring the allotment land, it was only the absolute minimum that will now enable key worker housing to commence and this will in turn free up space within the hospital by allowing their staff to have new housing around the perimeter of the Rookery Stand."

Mary Reid, Chair of the West Watford and Oxhey Garden and Allotment Society was also pleased with how the work is progressing: "Most of the tenants have been extremely happy and have been full of praise for the proficiency of the workmen.

"There were a series of meetings where tenants were informed of details and they were given the opportunity to voice any concerns in a bid to influence any decisions.

"Due to the time of year that the work is being carried out, it hasn't interfered with a lot of the plots and they have been quite satisfied with how everything is going so far."

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