The new chief executive of the Watford Chamber of Commerce has warned train disruptions due to affect the town over this year due to extensive rail improvement works could impact business.

Ian Welland, who took up the role on January 1, urged businesses to make contingency plans to minimise the impact.

Watford Junction station will be closed to passenger trains for extended periods this year, including for two weeks in August, as an £81 million rail improvement project gets under way.

The current schedule has works taking place from May 3 to 5, August 8 to 25, December 25 to 29, in 2014 and then February 14 to 22, and April 3 to 6 in 2015.

Mr Welland: "We are grateful to the train operators for advising us well in advance of the planned works and closures. This gives businesses and leisure attractions plenty of time to make contingency plans.

"Clearly there will be a knock-on effect to trade and leisure, but having most of the works scheduled during holiday periods this should minimise disruption.

"The planned works in February 2015 will be of most inconvenience. But I’m sure business and commerce will join with me in hoping that the works will be carried out on time, that the weather plays its part and in the long run these works will ensure that any further maintenance will be minimal."