As 2018 draws to a close, tackling homelessness and getting taxpayer’s money back for a failed train line extension are top priorities for the mayor.

The Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said people can expect a “viable alternative” for the Metropolitan Line Extension to be proposed by late spring.

In an interview with the Watford Observer, Mr Taylor said that from the death of the previous scheme in January this year, the council were now looking at “what could go in its place”.

He said taxpayers can expect a proposal to be published by May or June, 2019.

The Croxley Rail Link - later the Metropolitan Line Extension - was stopped in its tracks by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, owing to a £73million shortfall.

The extension faced a number of setbacks since the Department of Transport announced proposed funding for the project in 2010.

Mr Taylor said: “It was always the case that taxpayers don’t lose out. We will make sure that we get the money back because it’s not right.

“The train itself was already purchased, it isn’t right for Watford taxpayers to pay for a train they don’t use.

“Transport consultants are looking a viable alternatives for the Met Line Extension. That’s with TfL, Hertfordshire County Council and Watford Council.

“The previous scheme is dead - now we need to look at what could go in its place. A proposal will be published in spring next year.”

Mr Taylor also said he was keen to address the matter of homelessness in the town and that his Christmas card scheme had raised thousands for a Watford charity.

He said: “I do Christmas cards sponsored by local businesses and we’ve raised £5,000 which will go to New Hope.

“The night shelter we are running through December and January has been working well and I think it’s really important we do that from a humanitarian perspective, that people have a decent place to sleep.”

New Hope offer a SWEP+ (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) emergency shelter initiative to homeless people in Watford throughout the festive period.