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Watford residents’ opinions sought on future of town centre

Credit: Watford Borough Council.

Watford Borough Council has begun a public engagement into the future design of the town centre.

The local authority is inviting residents and other key groups to have their say on how they think the area should evolve over the next 20 years.

These comments will subsequently be used to form a design guide that sets out the parameters for the way the town centre evolves. 

In the wake of the pandemic, many high streets and town centres across the UK have had to adapt for a new future.

The council hopes this public engagement will help ensure Watford continues to grow and thrive for years to come.  

A discussion meeting led by experts in urban planning was recently launched by Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor, with a range of stakeholders in attendance including the police, Watford BID, Atria, property owners and elected members.

The Elected Mayor said: “Watford is no ordinary town. Latest statistics show we are one of the top 10 places in the country for retail bouncing back from the pandemic.

“Watford is already a very successful place, with regional, national and international reach; and we are seeing steady investment, despite the health and economic challenges of recent times.

 “However, high streets and town centres must continue to change and adapt for a new future. 

“We want to have open and honest conversations about this with residents and stakeholders about how Watford town centre will change over the next 20 years.”

Councillor Stephen Johnson, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Property and Housing, added: “We need to think beyond single sectors, such as retail and office, and towards making the town centre a hub for a range of activities and uses, for residents and visitors alike.

“Please tell us what makes Watford town centre special for you and what would make it even better.

“Together we will lay the foundations for the flourishing Watford town centre of tomorrow!”

A number of public meetings and events are set to take place in the coming weeks involving local groups and organisations.

Watford Borough Council is also working with students from West Herts College to create an urban room in the town centre featuring an interactive exhibition space, where people can gather to discuss the future of the town and post comments.

Residents are being encouraged to visit the online engagement platform Commonplace and share their ideas – whether it be new green spaces, more homes in the town centre, a greater focus on pedestrians, better accessibility, further independent retailers or sustainable modes of transport.

A report containing the main themes to emerge from the public engagement will be published in the Spring, followed by the design guide.

The engagement runs for 10 weeks until Friday 4 February 2022. To take part visit:

www.watford.commonplace.is

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