Page03 - News: Chorleywood Common Appraisal, Brothel, Air Quality

Chorleywood Common Conservation Appraisal
by Fay Caplin

Three Rivers District Council has produced a draft document called “Chorleywood Common Conservation Appraisal”. The purpose of this document is to identify and ensure the preservation of any building or structure which, though not necessarily “listed”, enhances the appearance of the area with particular regard to those surroundings and in the vicinity of Chorleywood Common which was designated as a conservation area in 1976 although there were minor boundary amendments in 1991. 

The buildings mentioned range from the 16th century to the 19th century and serve to demonstrate the historic growthof that part of Chorleywood and relate to domestic and agricultural connections since the original buildings consisted of farm cottages. 

The document states that the Common was originally used as grazing land when the “commoners”, as they are still named, not only had the right of pasture but also “estovers” which was the right to harvest wood. How wood was gathered during those early days is something of a mystery since the Common would have been almost bare of trees and shrubs unlike its appearance as we know it today. 

The naming of our locality has gone through a number of variations from the Norman name of Bosco de Chert when it was then within the area of Rychemareworde (Rickmansworth) where people in the Chess and Colne Valleys tended their pigs.

Subsequently Coria Leah and Charlewoode until finally the name Chorleywood was decided upon at the first meeting of the Urban District Council in 1913. It is interesting to note that maps showing the Common have survived since the 17th century although the discovery of remains would indicate that historically its existence goes back to the Domesday Book and Roman occupation. 

Chorleywood Bottom, so named because it lies at the lowest edge of the Common, now reflects those early village settlements while the appearance of the Metropolitan Railway resulted in urban changes in particular around Station Approach. Features of these early buildings worthy of preservation were the original timber windows and chimneys which reflect the history of the area and contribute to the visual aspects. 

The survey names a number of grade II listed buildings such as The Manor House, Berkeley House, Christ Church, The Court, The White Horse, Constables Cottage, Appletree Farmhouse, Barn Range, The Granary, Cobwebs in Dog Kennel Lane, Well House, The Old Cottage and Pond Cottage and even a telephone Kiosk coded as K6 which is located opposite the Gate. A tantalising list and there is even more of course. However as well as naming them, and much to their credit, the appraisal also contains a wealth of photographs together with interesting and often fascinating historical notes. 

Another feature of the developments around the Common which the Council wishes to maintain is the rninimalism of the front boundaries which currently mostly consist of low brick walls, picket fencing or vegetation. This is only a very brief insight into the contents of this, at the time of writing, draft document produced by TRDC which contains much of great interest including maps for different areas identìñed as Zones A, B, C, D and E. Your Residents Association applauds its production which will do so much to help preserve the integrity of the Common for the benefit and enjoyment of all who live here. The final version of this document will be available for viewing at TRDC and also in the public library. A copy for you to take away might be possible on request. 

Outcry over brothel in village

Your Residents Association joined the police and local councillors in condemning a controversial brothel operating in Lower Road. Our vice chair Annette Naughton was quoted in the Watford Observer: “l’m completely shocked that something like that is happening in the Village. I Want it closed as soon as possible”. 

The establishment called “Kisses and Cudd1es”, operating from a flat in Lower Road, openly advertised its services on the internet. Hertfordshire Police visited the property on several occations and served papers demanding closure in early January. The establishment was finally closed down in late January. Your Residents Association is very pleased that this establishment has been closed down. And hope that this will be the last, but we are not naive.

Air Monitoring Station

Many residents living near to the M25 will be well aware of the ongoing battle with the Highways Agency regarding the Air Monitoring Station.

The original proposals were to re-site the large Monitoring Station from Rickmansworth Fire Station to the Junction 18 Highways Compound. 
There have been long, long drawn out talks with the Highways Agency and they eventually agreed to allow access from South Park Avenue. However it was subject to legal agreement to be drawn up by them and TRDC are still awaiting this agreement.
In the meantime TRDC have raised the issue with Skanska Balfour Beatty a jointly funded station in an alternative location (possibly near Sunrise Senior Living) with new automated equipment.

Although talks are at an early stage there is a positive feel to them, particularly as SBB have a 30 year maintenance remit for the widened M25 which includes Air Quality Monitoring. It is likely that a grant towards part of the cost can be obtained from DEFRA. 
Your Residents Association feels that though this is not a definite solution it is step in the right direction.