Plans to relocate Watford police station to a new multi-storey office block next to the town hall have emerged at a meeting of Watford Borough Council’s cabinet.

In May we revealed plans to knock down the existing police headquarters on Shady Lane, along with the redundant magistrates’ court, to make way for 55 flats.

The council said that its “terrapin” building – installed next to the town hall as a temporary measure approximately 20 years ago to house part of its customer service centre, as well as amenity space and several meeting rooms – is now beyond its life expectancy.

Therefore its demolition has been proposed, along with the subsequent construction of a “four or more storey” office building on the site to be occupied by Hertfordshire Constabulary, with other interested parties leasing any remaining space.

Moving to quell fears that the police might relinquish its permanent base in the town, Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: “There will be a working police station here. We can reassure people that service won’t be diminished.”

The scheme was approved in principal at a meeting on the council’s cabinet on Monday evening, and will now proceed to the formal process of designing, specifying and constructing the purpose-built multi-storey office block.

To facilitate the new building, the council also intends to build a multi-storey car parking deck over the existing town hall and leisure centre car park, which it estimates will provide an additional 300 spaces.

Revenue from letting the office space and car parking facilities is expected to pay for the scheme within 15 years. Any revenue generated after that would be profit for the council.

However Cllr Peter Taylor did raise concerns about the possibility of disruption during the works, citing the council’s admission that such disruption was both highly likely and impactful.

A planning application is expected to be submitted towards the end of this year, with a provisional completion date set for 2019.