Your pond coming soon…

 

Watford’s historic pond dates back several hundred years, and we’re safeguarding it’s future.

 

Renovation of the pond is being carried out carefully, respecting the pond’s historic structure. The Pond’s original wall will be protected by a state of the art waterproofing system used to seal the tanks at the London Aquarium, and is safe for all aquatic life.

 

Also installed is a robust, state of the art new waterpoofing and filtration system. This will entail 12 new drum bed filters and new new UV filters to remove unwanted algae, and new pond plants and fountains will help to oxygenate the water and support aquatic life.

 

The new bridge will improve accessibility and interaction with the pond and provide shade which will also help reduce algae growth in the water during the summer months.

 

The pond will soon be refilled with water and the pond’s original fish, who are keen to reclaim their former home.

 

Up to 53 new trees will be planted in The Parade, include a line of sliver birches at Rickmansworth end of The Parade, screening off the traffic. Field maples will decorate the main concourse, and the pond will be a focal point for the town’s amazing Big Events street theatre programme starting in June.

Pond Works Progressing Well

The transformation of Watford’s iconic pond continues, with the installation of water filtration, lighting and granite steps.

The new state of the art filtration system will be supplemented by UV filters to remedy algae, and keep the water cleaner for the fish. To further aerate the water, three new fountains will be put in.

Also being installed is a self-healing pond liner. The liner consists of two layers of canvas separated with a layer of clay. The clay ingeniously acts as an adhesive in the event of damage to the canvases.

The structure of the pond’s new bridge is now in place. When complete it will have illuminated hand rails. The bridge will have a wooden decked surface. Either end of the pond will have a stepped seating area leading to the water’s edge.

The pond will be a focal point of a new events and arts space, with the new Parade able to accommodate up to 2000 spectators.

The events space will be ready on time for Watford Borough Council’s Big Event’s Programme – the largest ever outdoor entertainment programme to happen in the town. Events planned will encompass dance, film and music and the new space will host Watford’s flagship events, Imagine Watford and Watford Live!

Completed paving improvements to The Parade now stretch from Clarendon Road to Yates’s Pub. The next step will be to plant 37 new trees, which along with the retained trees, will create a greener space.

Laura Ormerod, of the Landscaped Architects BDP says: “The scheme will create an elegant, more accessible and comfortable environment for both pedestrians and cyclists. It will also retain and enhance the setting of the pond which has been there for over 100 years.”

Alan Gough, Head of Community and Customer Service at Watford Borough Council said:

“The pond and the new events space will be much more accessible, providing a cleaner environment and a brilliant place to watch outdoor art.”

The pond’s fish have been safely housed in aquariums while they await their new home. Once the water has been returned to the pond the fish will follow. It also hoped that the town’s faithful heron will return to the pond, and those spotting the heron are encouraged to tweet @WatfordCouncil #heronspotted.

IMG_2806

Above: Image of the pond during construction works

Panorama 3 revised

Above: Artists impression of the finished scheme

Works Progressing Well

Work on The Parade in Watford town centre is progressing well. We wanted to say a big thank you to all the members of the pubic and local businesses who have been so supportive during the works. Aggregate Industries, (AI) the main contractor who are building the scheme, have been liaising with businesses throughout the works to keep disruption to a minimum.

Please bear with us if things look a little mucky at times. AI are striving to keep The Parade as clean as possible during the works with regular sweeping and jet washing.

AI have had two visits from the Considerate Constructors scheme and have achieved very high marks on both visits,  scoring 78% and 80% for good practice.

The project is currently running within budget and is due to be completed by April 2014. An exciting program of events is currently being planned for 2014. Details to follow.

As you may have noticed if you have visited The Parade recently, the pond has now been drained down. It’s currently having a full renovation with a new liner and a state of the art filtration system. New fountains and plants will soon to be added.

We timed the works to avoid the bird nesting and fish spawning seasons. All of the pond birds naturally migrated to nearby water bodies. The fish were relocated and are being kept in holding tanks by expert fish specialists. They will be released back into the pond once works are completed.

The new pond will be a cleaner, greener space made more accessible for all the family, and a wonderful home for ducks. We’re really looking forward to it’s opening.

For more information on the Parade improvement works, visit http://www.watford.gov.uk/ccm/content/strategic-services/improvements-to-the-parade.en

We will continue to update you as the works progress and you can see the scheme phasing plan here: https://whatifwatford.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/scheme-phasing-plan/

For any queries please get in touch with Philip Priest, Public Liaison, Aggregate Industries Construction, on tel: 07927 756620.

Alternatively you can pop into their offices at 137A The Parade. It is the blue door next to the nail salon (Glamorous Nail & Beauty Care).

Work on The Parade in Watford town centre to be completed by next spring

Work on The Parade in Watford town centre is progressing well and is due for completion by spring next year.

Watford Borough Council has said the project is running on time, within budget, and will be finished by spring 2014.

So far, six skips of used wooden pallets have been recycled with local St Albans based company, Pearce Recycling. The pallets are fed into a wood-chipping machine, and then sent off around the UK to be used in the creation of motor-cross tracks, or made into construction boards for the building industry.

Over 30 lorry-loads full of used paving has also been recycled. It has been cleaned, crushed and resold as a high quality fill or sub-base material, which is used in the construction of car parks, driveways and highways.

For more information on the Parade improvement works, visit www.watford.gov.uk/theparade

We will continue to update you as the works progress and you can see the scheme phasing plan here: https://whatifwatford.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/scheme-phasing-plan/

For any queries please get in touch with Philip Priest, Public Liaison, Aggregate Industries Construction, on tel: 07927 756620.

Alternatively you can pop into their offices at 137A The Parade. It is the blue door next to the nail salon (Glamorous Nail & Beauty Care).

work to parade

 

 

 

The Parade works – update

Works are continuing well – thank you to all our residents and visitors who are bearing with us during this time. Our contractors are working hard to keep any disruption to a minimum and are ensuring shoppers can access all our town centre businesses.  We’ll be starting on the pond soon – have a look at our updated frequently asked questions for more info about what we’ll be doing www.watford.gov.uk/theparade

For this update, we are going to focus on The Parade as a car-free, shared use space for cyclists and pedestrians; and look in more detail at the natural stone paving currently being laid.

Shared use space

Prior to works starting earlier this year, we looked very carefully at the pedestrian and cyclist activity in Watford town centre. We carried out various surveys, observations and analysis in order to understand how people move around.

Something we noticed was that despite having a cycle path marked out, there was, in practice, little to discourage all users sharing the space, with pedestrians walking across, and along the cycle track. The meandering path taken by the cycle track also meant it was difficult for pedestrians to avoid it. In our observations, we saw more pedestrians than cyclists using the cycle track!

Based on all the evidence we collected, it was decided to make The Parade a shared use space. Key to the success of this new space will be considerate behaviour from cyclists and pedestrians! We all have a responsibility for the safety of others we are sharing space with, especially in a busy town centre.

There was another factor in our decisions. When we spoke with residents as part of our public consultation on the redevelopment; the most popular ideas were making the area car-free and removing all the clutter. So – come spring next year, there will be plenty of room for everyone to move around.

However, during the improvement works, cyclists are being asked to get off their bikes when travelling through narrow sections of the Parade. Signs have been put up by our contractor, where the parade has been temporarily narrowed, and we would urge cyclists to pay attention to them. We are grateful for your patience and understanding during this time, but hope you agree it will all be worth it!

New natural stone paving

There’s no paving finer than natural stone; it’s been used for thousands of years; it’s incredibly strong, hard-wearing and the most respected of building materials.

On the Parade we are predominantly using granite for our paving. Traditionally this has been used in streets and public spaces due to its exceptional weathering qualities, durability and stain resistance which is unmatched by other materials.

You may have noticed that some of the newly paved areas seem dirty. This is because construction works are ongoing – in the spring, when works are complete, there will be a thorough deep-clean of the area.

A new look for the pond

We are shortly to begin works on the pond, once the bird nesting and fish spawning seasons are over. Initially, there will be a bit of a pong, possibly for up to 2 weeks – this will be caused by the silt we need to dredge and remove from the pond. Please hold your noses and bear with us during this time!

The works to the pond have been planned having taken advice from expert ecologists. The birds will naturally relocate to nearby water bodies; and the fish will be carefully removed and stored off-site in holding tanks until works are complete in the spring.

The latest incarnation of the pond will feature a new filter system, fountains and planting to improve the water quality and wildlife habitat. Both ends of the pond will have stepped seating, with a decked area at one end and a bridge to create a link from one side of the Parade to the other.

In support of local businesses, we are also looking at of the possibility of creating suitable areas for outdoor dining adjacent to the pond on the north side where the majority of the sunshine is.

For more information, have a look at Watford Borough Councils website www.watford.gov.uk/theparade

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A new look for the top of town – FAQs

Improvement works to The Parade are well underway, which will bring an exciting and fresh new look to the whole top part of the town centre.

The redesign of the area from Clarendon  Road up to Rickmansworth will reduce clutter and create an open, family friendly space for all to enjoy.

How can I find out more about the improvements?

You can visit the project website: www.whatifwatford.wordpress.com which has a number of plans and mock-up images.

You could also sign up for our Watford Borough Councils monthly ebulletin, which includes updates on all the projects happening around the town. Click here to sign up: http://www.watford.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/council-and-democracy/council-news/email-newsletter/

How long will the works take?

The works started on site in April 2013 and will last for approximately 12 months. The works will be carried out in stages to reduce disruption as much as possible.

Please see attached pdf document (1 page) for the phasing of the works. Watford Parade Scheme Phasing Diagram

Who is going to be doing the work?

Aggregate Industries Construction has been appointed to carry out the work. Their Public Liaison Officer, Philip Priest, is based in the site office at 137A The Parade, and welcomes any questions or concerns you may have. It is the blue door next to the nail salon. Please note the offices are on the second floor of the building. You can also call him on tel: 07927 756620.

Is it safe to visit the town centre during the works?

Yes. Aggregate Industries are extremely proud of their safety record. All the works are securely fenced off, and walkways are clearly marked. During the improvement works, cyclists are being asked to get off their bikes when travelling through sections of the Parade. Signs have been put up by our contractor, where the parade has been temporarily narrowed, and we would urge cyclists to pay attention to them.

The Parade is being transformed into a car-free, shared use space for cyclists and pedestrians. It’s important that all visitors using the space do so considerately. We all have a responsibility for the safety of others we are sharing space with, especially in a busy town centre.

Are all the shops still open during the works?

Absolutely. All the businesses along The Parade are open and trading – it’s very much ‘business as usual’.

We have been promoting this message throughout the projects – as well as utilising the 2m high hoardings surround the work compound; we do this through press releases/ updates to our social media channels/ ebulletins to residents and updates to the www.whatifwatford.wordpress.com website.

Regular ebulletins are also sent to the businesses informing them of progress. Letter drops are carried out to all affected businesses each time the works move into a new area.

What is happening to the existing trees?

As many existing trees as possible are being retained as part of the new scheme but some have had to be removed. 49 new trees are being planted, and lit, as part of the new design, to create a beautiful avenue effect along The Parade.

What steps have been taken to protect existing wildlife in the area?

The works to the pond will be carried out well after the end of the bird nesting season and outside the fish spawning season. The ducks will naturally migrate away once the pond has been emptied, and experts have advised that they will return naturally upon completion as Watford pond offers a good and safe environment.

These works have been planned having taken advice from expert ecologists.  The birds will naturally relocate to nearby water bodies; and the fish will be carefully removed and stored off-site in holding tanks until the new renovated pond is complete in the spring when they will be re-released .

What improvements are being made to the pond?

The pond has been part of Watford’s town centre for at least 100 years. It began as a washing point for livestock and horses before they were taken down to the market. Over time the pond changed, becoming an ornamental water body with fountains. In 1999 a weir was added to its end and ducks, fish and other bird life began breeding among the pond planting.

When asked, the key things that people noted about the pond were:

  • that the water is green and the water quality needs to be improved
  • the wildlife habitats need to  be retained
  • the size and shape of the pond  creates a barrier between the northern and southern sides of The Parade.

In light of this feedback, the pond will be enhanced with a new filter system and planting to improve the water quality and wildlife habitat. New fountains will be installed and a raised edge created to stop debris being blown into the water.

Care has been taken to respect the historic nature of the pond and retain as much of the original water body as possible. Both ends of the pond will have stepped seating and decked areas, and a bridge will create a link from one side of the Parade to the other.

In support of local businesses, we will also create suitable areas for outdoor dining adjacent to the pond on the north side where the majority of the sunshine is.

How long will the pond works take? Will these works affect my business?

These works will start in October 2013 and be completed by March 2014.  Earlier on in the works – October time – there will be a natural and probably unavoidable smell for 2-3 days when the silt is dredged and removed from the pond. This silt will however be taken off site as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on businesses and the contractors will liaise with them well ahead of the works.

How is this being paid for?

The improvements works are being funding from the council’s ‘capital’ budget. This is money – not taken from council tax payments – that legally can only be spent on improving assets. Capital money cannot be spent on ‘day to day’ services or used to cut council tax. Therefore, the improvements will not mean that our council tax increases.

Will I still be able to park if I am disabled?

Yes. There are new disabled parking bays within Gade Car Park – and the existing disabled parking bays on Gaumont Approach and outside the Gade Car Park have been improved. In total, there are 16 parking bays. This is in addition to the disabled parking bays available in the other seven car parks in the town centre.

What access is there for vehicles along The Parade?

From 17 June 2013, The Parade became car-free. This will improve visibility and circulation along the street, and increase access and space for licensed outdoor dining. We hope creating a shared use space will bring huge benefits to visitors, pedestrians, cyclists, those with disabilities and our town centre businesses.

We did lots of public consultation last year, and removing the road, making it car-free and de-cluttering the area were among the most popular proposals with residents who took part in the consultation on The Parade.

Access will be limited to emergency and maintenance vehicles with permits only.  A formal consultation was carried out on the new Traffic Regulation Orders in March 2013 and no objections were made.

Access permits will be made available for those requiring large vehicle service access and those organising approved events when the project is completed in March 2014.  Multi-drop and small vehicles deliveries should use the new loading bay in Gaumount Approach.

How will the works affect my business?

We are repaving The Parade, and this may temporarily affect your access.  Any pavement licences will also be affected. The contractor will discuss with you the best way to carry out works to minimise any disruption.

Aggregate Industries Public Liaison Officer, Philip Priest, meets with shop owners regularly, and the contractor will make reasonable adjustments to their programme of works as a result of these friendly discussions.

Scheme Progressing Well

Visitors to top of town in Watford will have noticed the improvement works are progressing really well. The contractor, Aggregate Industries, have been working closely with local businesses to keep any disruption to a minimum, and to allow shoppers room to get around!

Over the last few weeks, large areas of new granite paving have been laid along The Parade. New lighting columns have been installed and new seating and cycle racks are now in place. Raised tree pits are also being installed and once the tree planting season begins this winter, new trees will be planted to complement the existing mature trees and create an avenue effect.

Works to the pond will begin once the fish spawning and bird nesting seasons are over. These works have been planned, having taken advice from expert ecologists.  The birds will naturally relocate to nearby water bodies; and the fish will be carefully removed and stored off-site in holding tanks until the new renovated pond is complete in the spring when they will be re-released.

Aggregate Industries are beginning to open up completed areas of the works to the public as soon as possible. Below is an image of the first completed area which was opened last week. We hope you are as pleased as us to see the scheme coming together.

We will continue to update you as the works progress and you can see the scheme phasing plan here: https://whatifwatford.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/scheme-phasing-plan/

For any queries please get in touch with Philip Priest, Public Liaison, Aggregate Industries Construction, on tel: 07927 756620.

Alternatively you can pop into their offices at 137A The Parade. It is the blue door next to the nail salon (Glamorous Nail & Beauty Care).

You can also contact Watford Borough Council Project Officer, Huw Hamer, on tel: 01923 278243 or by email at: huw.hamer@watford.gov.uk

Watford Parade Completed Works August 2013


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