Proposals to demolish a disused north Watford pub and build 18 flats in its place have been recommended for approval by planning officials.

Watford Borough Council politicians are due to vote on the plans for the old Verulam Arms pub site in St Albans Road on Thursday.

The application has met opposition from people living nearby who do not want to lose the "landmark" building.

However town planners said the design of the new flats was acceptable and raised no objection to the site being converted for residential use.

In a report to the council’s development control committee, planning officials said: "Although it is located at the northern end of the North Watford Shopping Centre, the proposal will not result in the loss of a retail use and will have no detrimental impact on the existing shopping centre.

"Given the high historic levels of vacancy within the shopping centre, it is not considered appropriate to require a new commercial unit as part of the development."

The application, lodged by O’Connor Utilities Ltd, said the development will comprise of 14 two-bed flats and four one-bed flats, of which six will be affordable.

A report to the committee said the existing car park on the site would be retained to provide 13 spaces for the flats and five of the new homes would be "car free".

The site was originally used as a public air raid shelter during the Second World War before being in-filled in 1954 when the pub was built. In recent years building has been used as restaurant but it currently vacant.

Planning officials said the council had received four letters of objection to the plans. People living near the proposed development opposed the loss of the building saying it was a very well known local landmark.

The council said it was seeking just over £92,000 in contributions from the developers to go towards local schools, libraries, open spaces and a children’s play space.