Problems with the redevelopment of Watford pond mean work on the refurbishment of The Parade could go right up to its big launch.

TV retail advisor Mary Portas will be officially opening the revamped area on June 20 a programme of cultural events will start in the town centre.

This week Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: "I am on tenterhooks. With the pond we always knew it would be a high risk part of the project as we did not know what was underneath it and what condition it was in.

"Having gone down there - it is not quite as good as we hoped. But it is doable. We will probably still be finishing the pond a few days before. It is unfortunate but there is no way we are getting the pond wrong."

The mayor added that she was excited to see the project finished and hoped the new opened-up Parade would become a regular venue for big cultural event.

She said: "I want the town to see it. I think the bridge is fabulous. It is going to be a real feature. It really is going to be a different space.

"People will like it or they or they will think it is a waste of money. But we thought ‘let’s get it tidied and make it better and not let it sit as another mess for another ten years’."

The event on June 20 will inaugurate the Watford Live festival, which will see dance, theatre and outdoor cinema events taking place until August next year.

Mary Portas said: "Being Watford born and bred, I am delighted to be opening Watford's Big Events. Our high streets are our heartbeats - they form one of the most important social fabric of our community and the way we live so this really will be brilliant for the town.

"Big Events is a great way to showcase the talent in the area and I am so proud to be involved."