Watford Borough Council’s cabinet has approved plans (13 March 2023) to revitalize and enhance the town centre over the next 20 years...
Watford Borough Council’s cabinet has approved plans (13 March 2023) to revitalize and enhance the town centre over the next 20 years, to help make it an even more attractive place to live, work and visit, and ensure it continues to thrive for the future generations.
The ambitious plans, otherwise known as the ‘Watford Town Centre Strategic Framework’ were developed after extensive consultation and stakeholder engagement from November 2021 to November 2022, where there were 1,231 contributions from 490 respondents. The top priorities for respondents were greenery/planting, places to eat and socialise and improved public transport.
They propose the following guiding principles alongside a comprehensive program of projects aimed at supporting the economic growth and development of the town, which includes:
- Future proofing the town centre with a mix of uses
- Boosting enterprise and innovation
- Well-integrated areas with active travel links
- Harnessing the opportunities that a growing and ageing population provides and retaining a mixed community
- Investing in an attractive, green, safe and welcoming public realm to encourage people to dwell and socialise in the town centre
- A town centre for all
The framework focuses on improving infrastructure, environment, transport, accessibility, experience and community, and while the council have not committed to specific projects, suggestions include:
- Cassiobury Park link - To create a direct connection between Cassiobury Park and the town centre for pedestrians and also cyclists
- Exchange Road link - Improve street character by adding new crossings, making it more accessible for all modes of transport, including pedestrians, cyclists, and buses. Increase accessibility to town centre for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Queen’s Road link - Create strong identity for area, integrate it with town centre, create seamless connection with diverse retail and commercial activity.
- Market – Integrate the Market better with the High Street and the potential in the longer term to green the flyover.
- St Mary’s Churchyard - Enhance town centre green space as a place to meet with improved seating and a park-like atmosphere. Decrease dominance of Church Street to increase green space. Improve connection to High Street to encourage activity.
- Market Street - Transform currently car-dominated street into active, pedestrian-friendly space with more commercial activity. Merge two sections of Market Street into one and integrate better with the town centre.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “Watford’s town centre has seen a steady investment over the last few years. High streets and town centres have to adapt, with a focus on a range of activities and uses, which the framework lays out.
“The honest conversations we have had with residents, businesses and others during the consultation have been really useful. They have helped us shape these plans for Watford. This plan looks at what Watford may look like in 20 years and I hope that by passing it at Cabinet we can lay the foundations for a vibrant town centre in the future.”
Collage of the Town Centre Heritage Boards
For more information and to read the whole framework document, please visit https://watfordtowncentre.commonplace.is/.