Cars and buses could be moved away from Watford town centre after a £2 million project to transform the High Street into a “pedestrian-friendly environment” was agreed.

With the Watford Borough Council-owned Charter Place Shopping Centre development due for completion in September 2018, plans have been put forward to “enhance the look and feel” of the area immediately around it.

These changes include cutting down on the amount of vehicles passing through and increasing the dominance of pedestrians to create a “shared space”.

However some aspects of the scheme could prove contentious, such as the relocation of disabled parking pays to a new facility in Church Street, the relocation of the existing taxi rank to a permanent location in Wellstones, and the rerouting of current bus services.

A public consultation on the changes closed at the end of August, and Mayor Thornhill stressed that the views of residents would be considered when more detailed plans are drawn up.

“Two groups of people may feel aggrieved by it but they are not being ignored. We will take into account what we hear from the consultation,” she said.

“We are going to improve the town centre. We have got to balance the needs of everybody.

“The town centre is not a car park or a cut through road, and at the moment it is being use for both these things.”

Watford Observer:

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday evening, Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and senior councillors voted to include £800,000 in the capital programme for 2018/19 to part fund the project.

The decision to dedicate the funding will go before a meeting of the full council on October 17 to be ratified.

The remaining £1.2 million estimated to complete the project will be comprised of various grants, £300,000 of county council funding, and existing funds from the Watford coffers.

It is intended that the works will commence by March 2018 and be completed by September to tie in with the opening of the new retail facilities.