Watford Borough Council development control committee to vote on £100m Charter Place plans next week

Charter Place: 'outdated' and 'will continue to decline' if it is not redesigned, says a report.

Charter Place: 'outdated' and 'will continue to decline' if it is not redesigned, says a report.

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The £100 million plans to redevelop Charter Place will come before Watford politicians later this month.

Watford Borough Council’s development control committee is set to vote on the regeneration scheme by Intu on Thursday, January 9, after an earlier vote was postponed last year.

Intu, which operates the adjoining intu Watford centre, requested the delay so the scheme could be heard with a second planning application relating to a listed building at 63 High Street, which is also part of the redevelopment.

Prior to the delay, council planners also expressed some concerns about the scheme’s design saying the varied elements were "trying too hard to compete with one another and do not create a coherent whole."

In the new report on the scheme officials said architects had "simplified" the design and recommended it for approval.

A report to the development control committee concluded: "The existing Charter Place Shopping Centre is now outdated by modern retail standards and, as it is, will continue to decline. It will increasingly have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre and provide a poor quality visitor experience.

"The application comprises a comprehensive redevelopment of Charter Place to provide a modern centre with new retail floorspace and a mix of restaurant and leisure uses that will significantly enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre and the public realm.

It later added: "Following a formal design review of the scheme by the Shape East Design Panel, a number of amendments have been made to the scheme to simplify and improve certain elements of the design."

The Charter Place redevelopment plans come after Intu secured a 999-year lease from the shopping centre’s owner, Watford Borough Council.

The regenerated Charter Place will have a new 450-seat IMAX cinema, larger shop units, restaurants and leisure facilities.

Comments (2)

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11:57am Fri 3 Jan 14

Andrew1963 says...

Overall a good scheme, that will see the enlarged INTU centre (Harlequin & Charter Place combined) become the main retail area. the traditional High Street to become the banking, discount shops zone and cafe area. Time now to consider taking buses off the ring road (like the 142 and 258 from Bushey) and having the main bus access up and down High Street to Clarendon Road and on to Watford Junction. This will simplify traffic movement and access to car parks from the ring road. Unfortunately it will mean losing some of the Blue Badge parking, but that could be moved to Queens Road/Broadway. Longer term, need to reconsider the road, footpaths and bus/taxi zone around Watford High Street station. If it is to play its full part in regenerating the town centre and improving public transport, (with the increased Met Line service coming with Croxley Rail Link),its relative isolation needs addressing. Perhaps complete redevelopment with lifts/escalators and a new development over the cutting with links straight to the INTU centre?
Overall a good scheme, that will see the enlarged INTU centre (Harlequin & Charter Place combined) become the main retail area. the traditional High Street to become the banking, discount shops zone and cafe area. Time now to consider taking buses off the ring road (like the 142 and 258 from Bushey) and having the main bus access up and down High Street to Clarendon Road and on to Watford Junction. This will simplify traffic movement and access to car parks from the ring road. Unfortunately it will mean losing some of the Blue Badge parking, but that could be moved to Queens Road/Broadway. Longer term, need to reconsider the road, footpaths and bus/taxi zone around Watford High Street station. If it is to play its full part in regenerating the town centre and improving public transport, (with the increased Met Line service coming with Croxley Rail Link),its relative isolation needs addressing. Perhaps complete redevelopment with lifts/escalators and a new development over the cutting with links straight to the INTU centre? Andrew1963
  • Score: 5

5:28pm Fri 3 Jan 14

mr_jrt says...

I always thought a new ticket hall under the road junction, combined with a strengthened road bridge over the railway using the pyramid as a ticket hall would be the best way to end the isolation of Watford High Street station with from the town centre. You could even punch a subway entrance from the ticket hall directly into the shopping centre's ground floor.
I always thought a new ticket hall under the road junction, combined with a strengthened road bridge over the railway using the pyramid as a ticket hall would be the best way to end the isolation of Watford High Street station with from the town centre. You could even punch a subway entrance from the ticket hall directly into the shopping centre's ground floor. mr_jrt
  • Score: 6

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