Watford Borough Council is committed to an ongoing redevelopment programme that is set to secure economic prosperity for decades. Over the next 10 to 15 years, more than £1.5 billion worth of investment will be leveraged by the council as part of an ambitious plan which will create thousands of new homes and jobs, with significantly improved services, transport infrastructure and leisure facilities.
By providing the strategic lead for Watford’s sustainable economic growth, the council is ensuring the borough remains a highly attractive proposition for residents and business alike. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused by works associated with these projects. The project teams meet regularly and are working together to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum, and that Watford remains open for business.
Projects in progress
Watford Business Park is a 26.3 hectare site to the south-west of Watford town centre and is currently home to over 100 businesses, employing in the region of 1,200 people.
Whilst it is a major employment area, a significant proportion of the existing properties are old and of a poor specification. Watford Borough Council is kick starting the regeneration of the park with plans to redevelop the ‘Gateway Zone’ at the northern entrance with modern, fit for purpose, flexible commercial premises. It has recently secured £5m of Local Enterprise Partnership funding which will enable the plans to move forward, creating new jobs and business growth in Watford.
The council have purchased a number of building over the last three years. However, in order to move forward with the regeneration of this area, a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) has been made. Details and documents relating to the CPO can be found here.
Following the clean-up of the area around the Watford Health Campus, the opening of the road to Watford Hospital and the completion of Trade City, we are now ready to deliver our first homes and create a new community and area. We’ve been working on a new masterplan for Watford Riverwell to make sure it’s a place that everyone can enjoy.
What about Watford Hospital? - West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has recently published their proposals to forge ahead with its plans for Watford Hospital. These plans are the responsibility of the Hospital Trust but our masterplan takes the Watford Hospital into account and will continue to support and facilitate progress.
Watford Riverwell is the town’s major regeneration project. Over the next 15 – 20 years, the £350million project will transform 65 acres of land surrounding Watford Hospital, much of which is currently unused, derelict and contaminated. The scheme will create a new, vibrant community that will provide around 1,000 new jobs and 750 homes; local retail, leisure and play facilities, and lots of public green space for everyone to enjoy.
Duration of project: 2015 – 2035
The station - which currently welcomes a whopping 8million visitors every year - will be brought into the 21st century by Watford Borough Council alongside its partners: Halkin, Network Rail, London North Western Railways and Hertfordshire County Council. To create an exciting and vibrant quarter around the town’s main station, plans include a new facade, new shopping facilities, new bus stops, better walking routes and a brand new connecting bridge. Plans also include a second entrance to the station and a new ticket hall to banish those long queues at the ticket barriers, a new bus station for the town and a multi-storey car park for station users. For more information, visit the Watford Junction page.
The route to transformation
- Phase 1 – New entrance and ticket hall, and retail and refreshment outlets
- Phase 2 – Development of the bus station
- Phase 3 – Development of 350 new homes, new ofﬁces and new retail space
Watford Junction forecourt project
New paving and lighting, lots of green planting, seating and visitor signposting along with the beginning of a heritage trail that visitors can follow through the town centre and learn interesting things about Watford’s history as they go. For more information, read the press release.
One of the most noticeable additions will be the large freestanding letters spelling out ‘WATFORD’. These will be a great focal point for the concourse and will encourage visitors’ photos and related social media posts on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, raising the profile of the town in a positive and highly visible way.
The Western Gateway has been identified in the emerging Local Plan as a Special Policy Area where significant new development is being directed. During 2019 Watford Borough Council will finalise a masterplan for the area which will support the delivery of c.1000 new homes along with local retail and additional employment opportunities.
Two housing schemes, Ascot Road and adjacent to Tolpits Lane, have already been granted planning permission which will deliver over 500 new homes across the two sites. Watford Borough Council is working closely with Hertfordshire County Council to develop options for a sustainable public transport scheme utilising the path of the former Metropolitan Line Extension corridor which will improve local connectivity and reduce congestion through to the town centre. Among the options being considered is a new transport hub at Ascot Road where people will be able to board the new service.
As you may have already noticed, significant improvements have taken place at the junction of Clarendon Road and Beechen Grove in Watford. Improvements included resurfacing of the carriageway and footways, upgrading the traffic lights, lamp columns and street furniture and enhancing the overall look and feel of the junction to create an improved ‘gateway’ to the town centre. A whole host of major improvements will take place until March 2025, to help create a sense of arrival for the millions coming through Watford Junction every year. We’ll keep you posted on what you can expect from these massive upgrades.
The development of Oxhey Activity Park is now underway to provide sport and leisure facilities. The development will provide a café with a riverside terrace, toilets with Changing Places services, a toddler and junior play area, improving walking and cycling routes through the park including disabled access, recreation facilities for skateboarding, scooters, blading, mountain bikes and BMX. It will also see a creation of wetland areas in the park and improvements to the River Colne corridor.
COVID-19 Update - The planned maintenance and refurbishment of St Albans Road has been paused at this time and will resume when the Council’s activities return to normal.
Watford Borough Council, working closely with local councillors, local businesses, residents and Hertfordshire County Council, want to make improvements to St Albans Road. These include £400,000 of investment of new street furniture, improved paving, tree planting, more cycle friendly routes and other changes to the look and feel of the area. The area has also been highlighted as a fly tipping hotspot, so our Environmental Health team will be focusing on the St Albans Road area (from Leavesden Road to Balmoral Road and immediately surrounding roads) to help improve street scene issues. For more information, visit www.stalbansroad.co.uk
Two exciting proposals to encourage sustainable transport in Watford will allow residents to climb aboard a flexible on-demand bus service or hop on and off at Watford’s cycling docks. Both of the proposals are part of Elected Mayor Peter Taylor’s aim to improve public transport across Watford.
- The bike share scheme will be open to the public, with cycles available for hire on-street, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are currently 25 schemes across the UK.
- The flexible on-demand bus service runs via an app. Simply book your ride share to pick you up at a ‘virtual’ stop and it will drop you at your destination. The app combines passenger requests and determines the most efficient route at a fixed fare. The scheme already runs successfully in Oxford, Sittingbourne and Liverpool.
The £180 million pound extension turned Watford in to a 1.4 million sq ft retail, catering and leisure destination and saw the council-owned Charter Place Shopping Centre redeveloped and integrated with the existing refurbished intu Watford shopping centre, placing Watford as one of the top 20 shopping destinations in the UK, alongside Bristol and Edinburgh.
New public spaces for entertainment and events have been created, along with large modern retail units, a restaurant hub, bowling alley and cinema. For more information, please visit intu.co.uk/watford
The High Street improvements – led by Watford Borough Council in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and Watford BID - were undertaken to provide better access for everyone to fully enjoy the town centre, as well as making it brighter and more spacious by laying attractive new paving, upgrading the bus shelters, banishing unwanted clutter, providing a new dedicated taxi rank just behind the High Street itself and offering new permanent disabled parking bays.
Bollards are now in place to prevent vehicles from illegally driving through the town centre, which has also allowed the bus services to provide smoother and quicker travel for residents and visitors to the town.