A new plan is being drawn up for The Parade, Watford, in a bid to get rid of the “ghost town” image.

A group of Watford Borough Councillors are already carrying out a survey among shopkeepers, residents of the town centre and Watford Police to see what can be done to improve the area.

Ideas being put forward include arcades of small craft shops.

Councillor Sheila Jones, one of the leaders of the project, said once complete, the Conservative members will present their study to the full council for backing.

She said: “All these units going for winebars are all huge. They could easily be turned into arcades for small handicraft shops and businesses for people who cannot afford large shop premises.

“It’s all very well having these big fancy things like the Harlequin Centre but there is nowhere in the town for small traders.”

The action group is also calling for pedestrianisation of The Parade at night to encourage more people into it.

The council is currently planning the banning of traffic from the other end of the High Street because of the problem it is creating.

She said: “In the evening I sit in committee rooms which overlook The Parade and you never see women walking through there by themselves.

“If we pedestrianise it in the evening, we could even have a taxi rank there. It would be a lot safer for people to get home.

“There is a general consensus of opinion that something desperately needs to be done at the top part of the town. But the answer is not to turn these big units into wine bars.”

[From the Watford Observer of August 30, 1991]

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