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Watford Borough Council agrees 999 year lease on Charter Place with Capital Shopping Centres
10:05pm Monday 8th October 2012 in News
Ruling Liberal Democrat politicians voted to grant Capital Shopping Centres a 999 year lease on the centre in High Street at a meeting of the cabinet.
Watford Borough Council is also set to take control of four town centre car parks such as the Gade and Palace, which were handed over to Capital as part of the original Harlequin deal in the 1990s.
The agreement will help pave the way for the long-awaited rebuild of the ageing centre.
However despite tonight's agreement details of what the redevelopment will look like are yet to emerge.
Previous proposals for Charter Place have included plans for a cinema and issues such as where the market will fit into the scheme remain unanswered.
The deal agreed tonight will see the council paid an annual income of £1.8m from Capital for Charter Place.
On top of this the borough will receive a seven per cent slice of any profits made from the shopping centre.
As part of the deal Capital agreed to hand back control of the four town centre car parks - Gade, Palace, Sutton and Church - back to the council.
Under the current arrangement Capital rents the car parks for £868,000 a year, plus 50 per cent of the profits it makes from them.
The new deal means the council will be able to set the fees for the car parks and also invest in their run-down buildings.
Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said the new arrangement would allow the council to use the car parks as a tool to attract people to the town.
She said: "We had some concern that the car parks were not their (Capital's) priority. It was about getting shoppers in and out.
"Our priority is the whole town. This allows us a degree of flexibility and that has got to be a good thing."