Works to redevelop Charter Place and create new IMAX cinema to start

A £100 million pound project to transform Charter Place and intu Watford into a booming retail and leisure hub will finally begin on Monday.

Continuing their 25 years of investment in the town, intu will be creating space for up to 16 shops, 10 restaurants, and a nine-screen IMAX cinema.

A public square will be created that will host a diverse events programme, such as street art and music shows.

The £100 million project will create 1,900 jobs.

However the shoppers’ experience could be affected. More and more shops will shut down in order to allow the plans to move forward.

Councillor Mark Watkin, portfolio holder for finance, said: "Working in partnership with intu, we have planned this transformation very carefully.

"This is why so many shops have been closing down recently. People will see hoarding going up in the town centre, but for the most part it will be business as usual."

The project which will begin on Monday will last for up to four months. Parts of the shopping centre will be demolished, with all benches, litter bins, paving slabs and cycle racks being removed from the area and sent to be used elsewhere.

The extension plan is the largest of its kind to have happened at the shopping centre since Charter Place opened in 1976.

The development will create a 1.4 million sq.ft. modern retail and leisure destination.

Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: "Despite the scale of work, disturbance to local business will be kept to an absolute minimum.

"The project will help make Watford future-proof, so our town remains the wealthy and prosperous place it is today.

"Our town has fared exceptionally well through the recession and is now in a very strong place commercially as the economy gathers speed."

Written by Isaac Ouro

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