Residents in Bushey have responded angrily to the potential Watford FC stadium move to Bushey Hall Golf Club, after early plans were leaked back in February.
Whilst BusheyNews understands that the plans are in their earliest possible stages, it hasn’t stopped residents giving their opinion on the matter, with most of them worrying about consequences it may bring.
Both Liberal Democrats and Conservative local councillors have taken steps to block the move, with a tree preservation order and a petition, which has already received more than 5,000 signatures, being set up.
One of the main concerns is for the green belt land, the new stadium would be in excess of 30,000 seats and on the doorsteps of thousands of homes and according to the Bushey Conservatives who set up the petition, this would lead to “increased congestion, increased, carbon pollution, increased light pollution and increased noise pollution.”
A Bushey resident, that didn’t want to be named, who has lived in a house backing onto the golf club for more than 15 years and claimed he did so for the “calm and surroundings”, has slammed the plans.
Speaking to BusheyNews, they said: “To learn of these proposals to move the football stadium to the site of Bushey Hall Golf Club fills me with horror.
“It Is one of the few remaining green spaces left in Bushey and should not be sacrificed to concrete through the greed of Watford FC and the inefficiency of the council.
“The football club is called Watford, not Bushey, and it should remain where it is.”
As mentioned above, The Bushey Liberal Democrats have taken a Tree Preservation Order in order to preserve the green belt land.
Paul Richards, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Bushey North, said: “We are working very hard with local stakeholders and community groups to get this stadium stopped. It would have a catastrophic effect on our entire way of life and cause immense environmental damage.
“For Bushey’s sake, we must block this scheme, and if we work together, we will. But right now, we’re really up against it because at the moment the council’s leadership seem very excited about the idea.
“The bottom line is that, in Bushey, planning decisions are made by the Conservative council leaders at Hertsmere, it’s up to them. The ball’s in their court.”
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor also admitted that he hoped Watford FC stayed in the town.
In a statement, he said: “I think many of us have very mixed emotions about a possible move by the football club. While we welcome the owners’ ambition and commitment to invest in the club, there are so many memories and lots of history associated with Vicarage Road
“I would be really sad to see the club leave the town. They are such an important part of Watford.
“Their support for Watford General over the last few months has been wonderful and it made a real difference. One of Graham Taylor’s legacies is their consistent support for the local community.”
Another resident complained that the move would completely change the town’s character all together.
They said: “This is a highly residential area, within the catchment of some very sought after schools, should this ridiculous plans go ahead, it would surely be detrimental to the desirability to settle in the area, effecting house prises and changing the character of Bushey all together.
“I’m sure nobody wants a football stadium anywhere near them, but surely destroying another swathe of green belt land makes no sense. I desperately hope these plans can be averted, or Watford get relegated.”
The leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Morris Bright MBE, was approached for a comment, but declined saying it would be “inappropriate for him to provide a comment for something he’s not been involved in.”
Watford FC also declined to make a comment at this stage.
What are your thoughts? Are there any positives to the potential move, or are you too against the proposal? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.