The £100 million redevelopment of Charter Place could help lift Watford into the "premiership" of retail, according to the town’s elected mayor.
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said approval of new shopping centre, which will have a 450-seat IMAX cinema, will halt the town’s slide down the retail rankings by attracting top brands and more visitors Watford.
Last Thursday operator the neighbouring intu Watford centre, Intu, was granted permission to knock down the aging Charter Place and replace it with a three-storey centre with new restaurants, larger retail units, a small market, and leisure facilities.
Construction is planned to take place throughout 2016 with a view to opening in time for Christmas 2017.
Speaking after the decision Mayor Thornhill: "It takes us up to Premiership, which is where we want be and that is where we are going.
"It will attract top retailers to the town and it will just look and feel better there. It will also attract more footfall which will increase our prosperity.
"The icing on the cake is the town centre cinema, which we have wanted for years."
The redevelopment was also welcomed by the chief executive of Watford Chamber of Commerce Ian Welland.
He said: "Ian Welland, Chief Executive for Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce welcomed the news and said: "This is a major step forward in the regeneration of our town centre. The completed development will ensure Watford becomes a total destination for shopping and leisure.
"With all new developments, not only will this see patronage to the new shops, businesses and attractions; it creates jobs and helps support the local economy across the whole town."