Harlequin Centre, Gino D’Acampo and Marco Silva among archive stories

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A change of name for Watford’s main shopping centre, plans to demolish a hotel, a change of head coach at Vicarage Road and a church celebrating its 50th anniversary were among the stories making our headlines five and ten years ago this week.

TEN YEARS AGO

Harlequin Centre name to change

The Harlequin Shopping Centre is set to change its name to as part of a nationwide rebrand being undertaken by its operator.

The Watford Observer understands the centre’s name will be change to Intu Watford.

Watford Observer: Harlequin Centre's name is to change to Intu Watford as part of a nationwide rebrand.Harlequin Centre’s name is to change to Intu Watford as part of a nationwide rebrand. (Image: Watford Observer)

The move comes after Capital Shopping Centres, which runs the centre, announced it is renaming a number of its 15 shopping centres by adding the moniker Intu into the names.

No date has yet been set for when the Watford rebrand will come into effect.

Watford Observer: Harlequin Centre's name is to change to Intu Watford as part of a nationwide rebrandHarlequin Centre’s name is to change to Intu Watford as part of a nationwide rebrand (Image: .)

Hotel demolition application refused by council

An application to demolish Rickmansworth’s only remaining hotel and replace it with 92 homes has been refused by Three Rivers District Council.

The Long Island Exchange – formerly the Victoria Hotel – has been a landmark in the town since before 1888 and is believed to pre-date Rickmansworth Station which it stands opposite.

The bid to locate 87 flats and five town houses on the site of the hotel in Victoria Close prompted almost 250 comments to the council from residents and interested parties.

The application was turned down in late December without ever reaching the council’s planning committee.

Watford Observer: Gino D'Acampo visits college students.Gino D’Acampo visits college students. (Image: .)

Gino D’Acampo visits college students

Celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo surprised students at West Herts College today with an impromptu visit.

The star of “Ready Steady Cook”, “Saturday Kitchen” and “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!” popped into the Hempstead Road college this morning.

He inspected the food on offer in the canteen and then met some of the students.

FIVE YEARS AGO

Silva sacked by Watford after just 26 games

Watford have sacked head coach Marco Silva after just 26 games in charge.

Silva’s position at the club became untenable after a run of eight defeats in 11 league games and a breakdown in relations between the head coach and the club’s board.

Watford Observer: Marco Silva's last game was the 2-0 defeat to Leicester City.Marco Silva’s last game was the 2-0 defeat to Leicester City. (Image: Action Images)

The decision displays just how deep tensions ran behind the scenes at Watford, a club which has publicly prided itself on sticking by managers mid-season in recent years. The club say a new head coach will be appointed ‘swiftly’.

Silva’s final game in charge was the 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, which left the club a potential three points above the relegation zone, pending the result of this afternoon’s game between Spurs and Southampton.

Watford Observer: The service about to begin at St Peter's Church 50th anniversary.The service about to begin at St Peter’s Church 50th anniversary. (Image: Len Kerswill)

Church built on congregation’s shillings celebrates 50th anniversary

A church hit its 50th anniversary – and members old and new came together to celebrate.

St Peter’s Church in Bushey Mill Lane, Watford, brought together old and new faces to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The church was originally based in a multi-purpose building, before it was decided that a church building was required.

In 1967, the diocese paid £12,000 for the shell of the building, and the remainder of the required funds was paid for by congregation members, who each gave a shilling a year for five years to kit out the inside of the church.

‘Ambitious’ £36m regeneration project to get underway

The construction firm that will build a £36 million regeneration project to create “much needed” homes has been named.

Watford Community Housing has appointed Mulalley and Co to build more than 100 homes in the Meriden estate in Watford.

The multi million pound project will bring 131 homes for affordable or social rent, a 50-bed extra care facility for elderly people, and two homes for shared ownership on land between The Gossamers and York Way.

The project will also see new green spaces, community facilities, and a shopping parade.

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