New IMAX cinema planned for Watford as part of Intu's Charter Place revamp

New IMAX cinema planned for Watford as part of Charter Place revamp

The latest Charter Place design.

The current view of Charter Place.

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

Watford could be getting a new IMAX cinema as part of the forthcoming redevelopment of the Charter Place shopping centre.

Architects designing the £100 million scheme said they were planning for a multi-screen cinema complex with a large 450-seat IMAX as the centrepiece on the second floor of the new centre.

At a presentation at Watford Town Hall last night councillors also got their first sight of detailed drawings of what the new Charter Place will look like.

The event comes after the operators of the neighbouring intu Watford, Intu, secured a 999-year lease on the aging Charter Place centre, which is owned by Watford Borough Council.

Leslie Jones Architecture unveiled designs showing a mixture of styles with a gabled frontage jutting out from a white rectangular upper tier decorated with a patchwork of different materials, including blue, glazed terracotta.

The listed frontage at 63 High Street will be preserved as part of the new centre.

Watford Observer:

63 High Street.

James Cons, Managing Director of Leslie Jones Architecture, said the redevelopment of Charter Place could really improve the town centre and "really lift up the town".

Going through the designs he said the centre would have larger units than intu Watford, which aimed to attract high-end brands to it.

Plans for the ground and first floors showed the High Street-facing units taken by restaurants and the rest used for retail.

The second floor was dominated by the large cinema complex but also show space earmarked for unspecified leisure facilities.

The central area of the centre will remain open but will be covered by a glass roof.

Mr Cons said: "We hope this will be a stunning central space for Watford town centre."

The councillors were told Intu plans to submit planning permission for Charter Place in later this month with a view to beginning the demolition of the centre in 2015.

Construction is planned to take place throughout 2016 with a view to opening in time for Christmas 2017.

Watford Observer:

An inside view of the new design planned to open in 2017

Following the presentation Mr Cons answered questions from the councillors.

Councillor Iain Sharpe, a Liberal Democrat for Oxhey, wanted to know how durable the materials were as he said the planning committee had seen many fantastic looking designs for buildings, which had degraded or aged not long after being built.

He added: "I remember Charter Place five or 10 years after it was built. It may have looked brilliant when it was built but it looked pretty grim pretty quickly."

Mr Cons said the architects had specifically chosen materials that "weather well" for the project.

Labour councillor Nigel Bell asked what would happen to the current car park element of charter Place in the new scheme.

He was told it would be staying but would be refurbished and the new design would mean shoppers would not be able to see the aged structure from the ground floor.

Comments (13)

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1:08pm Fri 1 Nov 13

phil mitchel says...

Unfortunately the person presenting on behalf of the architects is called Mr Cons...I wonder if its to good to be true. You wouldn't feel too comfortable hearing that the person performing your operation today was Dr De'ath or the young lady working on the information desk was Miss Informed.
Unfortunately the person presenting on behalf of the architects is called Mr Cons...I wonder if its to good to be true. You wouldn't feel too comfortable hearing that the person performing your operation today was Dr De'ath or the young lady working on the information desk was Miss Informed. phil mitchel
  • Score: 4

1:23pm Fri 1 Nov 13

fugu says...

Wow, that is a special kind of ugly.

A chance to build something bautiful completely missed. Why does Watford always end up with this cheap office-block architecture?
Wow, that is a special kind of ugly. A chance to build something bautiful completely missed. Why does Watford always end up with this cheap office-block architecture? fugu
  • Score: 1

1:28pm Fri 1 Nov 13

fugu says...

Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.
Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design. fugu
  • Score: 6

1:49pm Fri 1 Nov 13

TheDandyCarrot says...

Ok, lets face facts 'almost' anything is better than the current drippy concrete with dodgy escalators and empty units. The proposals are better looking than many major shopping developments in Hertfordshire and combined with the investment on the high st should lead to a significant improvement. It will also be nice not to need to drive to get to a decent cinema.

All this on one hand I worry for the Watford Market (I'm not convinced by the proposals for the new site) and some of the more local business' currently in the centre. The development proposals indicate larger units for upmarket retailers and restaurants, is this going to be sustainable in Watford? With already having a new development of chain restaurants further down the High St. are we going to end up with a third Costa to add to our burgeoning supply? Watford has a very varied if slightly scruffy demographic with it's retail offering, it's part of it's charm and I worry some of that could be lost.

What the long term appearance of the site will come down to is investment in the maintenance of the site. Something that Watford Council has been ill equipped to achieve and I hope that Intu will take on with enthusiasm.
Ok, lets face facts 'almost' anything is better than the current drippy concrete with dodgy escalators and empty units. The proposals are better looking than many major shopping developments in Hertfordshire and combined with the investment on the high st should lead to a significant improvement. It will also be nice not to need to drive to get to a decent cinema. All this on one hand I worry for the Watford Market (I'm not convinced by the proposals for the new site) and some of the more local business' currently in the centre. The development proposals indicate larger units for upmarket retailers and restaurants, is this going to be sustainable in Watford? With already having a new development of chain restaurants further down the High St. are we going to end up with a third Costa to add to our burgeoning supply? Watford has a very varied if slightly scruffy demographic with it's retail offering, it's part of it's charm and I worry some of that could be lost. What the long term appearance of the site will come down to is investment in the maintenance of the site. Something that Watford Council has been ill equipped to achieve and I hope that Intu will take on with enthusiasm. TheDandyCarrot
  • Score: 6

2:15pm Fri 1 Nov 13

E.Coli says...

fugu wrote:
Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.
Would you rather have the new complex built in grey concrete with water dripping down and escalators that occasionally work.
[quote][p][bold]fugu[/bold] wrote: Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.[/p][/quote]Would you rather have the new complex built in grey concrete with water dripping down and escalators that occasionally work. E.Coli
  • Score: 7

2:19pm Fri 1 Nov 13

JonBoy says...

what about the poor fruit and veg barrow?
what about the poor fruit and veg barrow? JonBoy
  • Score: 4

2:20pm Fri 1 Nov 13

HornetJJ says...

fugu wrote:
Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.
Because Lidl is such an upmarket supermarket!
[quote][p][bold]fugu[/bold] wrote: Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.[/p][/quote]Because Lidl is such an upmarket supermarket! HornetJJ
  • Score: 2

4:45pm Sat 2 Nov 13

Wacko Jacko says...

fugu wrote:
Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.
The proposed buildings are made from brick, stone, terracotta, which 'cheap' materials are you referring to? this sounds like a bit of an ill informed knee-jerk whinge to me
[quote][p][bold]fugu[/bold] wrote: Rickmansworth manage to insist that Lidl use red brick to avoid a massive blot on their town but Watford seem to revel in cheap materials and uninspired design.[/p][/quote]The proposed buildings are made from brick, stone, terracotta, which 'cheap' materials are you referring to? this sounds like a bit of an ill informed knee-jerk whinge to me Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 7

10:04pm Sat 2 Nov 13

fugu says...

The picture at the top shows the listed frontage being removed. The remains, after the red brick section is no longer included, because this mock-up is a gross distortion of the actual plans, is made by a cheap curtain walk construction of glass panels, metal frame and cheap board infill.

There is no stone specified, and I(d like you to point out exactly which parts are terracotta. I will be checking.

This article has been edited, without any recorded amendments, and still mis-represents the actual proposed re-development. Any chance of an honest rendering?
The picture at the top shows the listed frontage being removed. The remains, after the red brick section is no longer included, because this mock-up is a gross distortion of the actual plans, is made by a cheap curtain walk construction of glass panels, metal frame and cheap board infill. There is no stone specified, and I(d like you to point out exactly which parts are terracotta. I will be checking. This article has been edited, without any recorded amendments, and still mis-represents the actual proposed re-development. Any chance of an honest rendering? fugu
  • Score: 0

10:09pm Sat 2 Nov 13

fugu says...

The picture at the top shows the listed frontage being removed. The remains, after the red brick section is no longer included, because this mock-up is a gross distortion of the actual plans, is made by a cheap curtain walk construction of glass panels, metal frame and cheap board infill.

There is no stone specified, and I(d like you to point out exactly which parts are terracotta. I will be checking.

This article has been edited, without any recorded amendments, and still mis-represents the actual proposed re-development. Any chance of an honest rendering?
The picture at the top shows the listed frontage being removed. The remains, after the red brick section is no longer included, because this mock-up is a gross distortion of the actual plans, is made by a cheap curtain walk construction of glass panels, metal frame and cheap board infill. There is no stone specified, and I(d like you to point out exactly which parts are terracotta. I will be checking. This article has been edited, without any recorded amendments, and still mis-represents the actual proposed re-development. Any chance of an honest rendering? fugu
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Sun 3 Nov 13

Wacko Jacko says...

fugu wrote:
The picture at the top shows the listed frontage being removed. The remains, after the red brick section is no longer included, because this mock-up is a gross distortion of the actual plans, is made by a cheap curtain walk construction of glass panels, metal frame and cheap board infill.

There is no stone specified, and I(d like you to point out exactly which parts are terracotta. I will be checking.

This article has been edited, without any recorded amendments, and still mis-represents the actual proposed re-development. Any chance of an honest rendering?
Actually no, the top illustration doesn't show the listed building at all, because it is not visible from this angle, it is clearly there in the illustrations from other angles, which haven't been printed by the Observer. The two buildings flanking the listed building are to be in red brick, the corner building to the left of the view is in recon. stone as is the building opposite the old bank building further down the road. The carpark cladding and some of the roofs are in terracotta, other roofs are in natural slate. Some of the high level elevations of the cinema block are clad in anodised aluminium of various tones. All the materials used seem to me to be high quality.
[quote][p][bold]fugu[/bold] wrote: The picture at the top shows the listed frontage being removed. The remains, after the red brick section is no longer included, because this mock-up is a gross distortion of the actual plans, is made by a cheap curtain walk construction of glass panels, metal frame and cheap board infill. There is no stone specified, and I(d like you to point out exactly which parts are terracotta. I will be checking. This article has been edited, without any recorded amendments, and still mis-represents the actual proposed re-development. Any chance of an honest rendering?[/p][/quote]Actually no, the top illustration doesn't show the listed building at all, because it is not visible from this angle, it is clearly there in the illustrations from other angles, which haven't been printed by the Observer. The two buildings flanking the listed building are to be in red brick, the corner building to the left of the view is in recon. stone as is the building opposite the old bank building further down the road. The carpark cladding and some of the roofs are in terracotta, other roofs are in natural slate. Some of the high level elevations of the cinema block are clad in anodised aluminium of various tones. All the materials used seem to me to be high quality. Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 4

9:10pm Sun 3 Nov 13

Andrew1963 says...

Wacko jacko must be a councillor ad the images he/she refers to are not available to the public. So it. Is reassuring to read that the stucco victorian bank facade it's to be retained. Overall these are good plans, but confirm iNTU/Harlequin is now the retail high street, with the actual high street now services and eateries. All fine by me, just need to sort out the bus and a car routes to and through the town centre.
Wacko jacko must be a councillor ad the images he/she refers to are not available to the public. So it. Is reassuring to read that the stucco victorian bank facade it's to be retained. Overall these are good plans, but confirm iNTU/Harlequin is now the retail high street, with the actual high street now services and eateries. All fine by me, just need to sort out the bus and a car routes to and through the town centre. Andrew1963
  • Score: 2

9:46am Mon 4 Nov 13

TheDandyCarrot says...

Andrew1963 wrote:
Wacko jacko must be a councillor ad the images he/she refers to are not available to the public. So it. Is reassuring to read that the stucco victorian bank facade it's to be retained. Overall these are good plans, but confirm iNTU/Harlequin is now the retail high street, with the actual high street now services and eateries. All fine by me, just need to sort out the bus and a car routes to and through the town centre.
Dear Andrew, It's a fair point which highlights the need for greater transparency and ease of public access in then planning process and the need for this to be digitised. At this stage it is going through the planning process. You are able to go down to the planning office and view all the plans, artist renders you like alongside the pages and pages of gumph that go with them. The images released to the press are the ones used in this article, companies always use the most beautiful pictures for press release not the most informative. They have already gone through public consultation to limit the length of time it takes to go through planning and limit the objections that arise.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: Wacko jacko must be a councillor ad the images he/she refers to are not available to the public. So it. Is reassuring to read that the stucco victorian bank facade it's to be retained. Overall these are good plans, but confirm iNTU/Harlequin is now the retail high street, with the actual high street now services and eateries. All fine by me, just need to sort out the bus and a car routes to and through the town centre.[/p][/quote]Dear Andrew, It's a fair point which highlights the need for greater transparency and ease of public access in then planning process and the need for this to be digitised. At this stage it is going through the planning process. You are able to go down to the planning office and view all the plans, artist renders you like alongside the pages and pages of gumph that go with them. The images released to the press are the ones used in this article, companies always use the most beautiful pictures for press release not the most informative. They have already gone through public consultation to limit the length of time it takes to go through planning and limit the objections that arise. TheDandyCarrot
  • Score: 0

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