South Oxhey precinct area to be modernised

Kevin Snow01st February 2012

Councillors voted unanimously on Monday night (30 January) to make major improvements to South Oxhey precinct and its surrounds.

Following a widespread consultation with the local community, and consideration of viability reports, Councillors from all the local political groups have supported proposals to redevelop the 60 year old shopping area and the flats there.

District Council Leader Ann Shaw said:

"This is an exciting opportunity to improve the heart of South Oxhey by providing shopping facilities and homes to meet modern standards and needs as well as premises for all the other local services, including leisure, needed by the community now and in the future.

“The consultation has involved many local people and we thank all those who responded. Only 3% voted for no change. The overwhelming majority wanted refurbishment or redevelopment."  

Councillor Shaw added:

“The reports on refurbishment convinced us that it would cost a great deal of local tax payers’ money and would only last a relatively short time. Redevelopment will provide opportunities to attract private investment
which will allow a more exciting scheme designed to meet local needs and wishes and maintain a good range of shops and businesses with a life span of at least 60 years.”

Three Rivers District Council will work closely with local people, local businesses, Watford Rural Parish Council and other local organisations to develop detailed plans for the project. Further public consultation will take place later this year. 

District Council Labour Group Leader Cllr Stephen King said:

"It is now imperative that any redevelopment is done in a sensitive manner and that the people living in the affected area and the shopkeepers who have paid rent and rates to Three Rivers for many years, are considered and their needs are paramount to any plans that are put forward.  I will be maintaining a careful watch on the plans and consulting with all concerned."    

Redevelopment will be undertaken in phases to accommodate the needs of the community during this time. It will be carefully planned and tenants,
leaseholders, businesses and residents will be consulted and kept informed.  

Thrive Homes tenants living above the shops will be re-housed in suitable accommodation. No residents or shopkeepers are expected to need to move as a result of the modernisation programme until at least late 2013. Leaseholders living above the shops will be offered market prices for their properties.  

District Council Conservative Group Leader Chris Hayward also supported the decision. He added:

"We will need to reassure residents with further consultation. This is not the end of the process but the beginning."

The District Council will be keeping tenants and leaseholders, businesses and local residents informed throughout the rest of this year.  People can speak to their local Councillor,  join the Council's South Oxhey Facebook page or sign up for the South Oxhey e-newsletter here...  A postal mailing list is also provided 01923 776611. 

A steering committee has been set up to guide the consultation and redevelopment process. The committee consists of: 

Three Rivers District Council Leader, Ann Shaw
Chair of Watford Rural Parish Council, Pam King
Three Rivers District Council Deputy Leader, Matthew Bedford
Thrive Homes Chief Executive, Elspeth Mackenzie
Three Rivers District Council Conservative Group Leader, Chris Hayward
Three Rivers District Council Labour Leader, Stephen King
Three Rivers District Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, Martin Trevett
County Councillor Deirdre Gates (Ashridge, Hayling and Northwick Wards)