Watford Borough Council has earmarked £13million for a major redevelopment project to create a business park fit for the future.

A significant portion of land on Watford Business Park is being bought up by the council using a Compulsory Purchase Order to make way for a new “flagship” building and entrance that will “set the tone” for companies looking to move into the area.

Several businesses along Greenhill Crescent and Faraday Close have been purchased by agreement with the leaseholders already, spanning an area of 7,100 square metres that also includes a free 100-space car park, some of which are disabled.

The so called “Gateway Zone”, which is the first phase of the council’s proposed regeneration scheme for the park under its local plan, will see many of the buildings in this area sold with their leaseholds so they can be modernised and improved upon.

A new wider entrance will also be installed to manage traffic driving on and off the park which currently employs over 1,000 people.

Construction is likely to get underway in 2020.

Five out of six leaseholds have already been acquired by Watford Borough Council, including Hyundai which has moved in town. The council said it has been assisting those businesses to find alternative premises and sites.

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Trevor Humphrey, owner of TH Motorsport on Faraday Close, will move his business to nearby Caxton Way four months from now.

He said: “We decided we would move before we have to. All our business is local so we had to stay around here.

“Our rent will go up a lot and on paper we are still viable, but it will put a strain on the business.

“I was irritated at first and no one likes change, but at the end of the day I have staff I have to provide a working environment for. But I could do without the cost.

“I know there are a lot of people up in arms but to be honest our building isn’t fit for purpose anymore and needs to be rebuilt.

“The roof is failing and it’s cold in the winter and as much as I’d like to stay here and keep the cost down it’s not really fit anymore.

“It’s forcing my hand, but we are looking at it as a positive thing going forward whether we like it or not. It’s a sign of the times.

“The council have been quite helpful to be honest.”

Mr Humphrey has ten staff who will all join him at his new premises in Caxton Way.

Marion Barling, chief executive of Abbots UK mechanical and electrical supplies on Faraday Close, added: "Obviously we are very worried about the move and are actively looking for a new premises. However properties that suit our requirements appear to be in short supply.

"We desperately want to remain in the area and retain our staff who have been very loyal to us over the years and have a wealth of knowledge regarding our business, most of who are local residents.

"We have been trading for 25 years, 20 of them from Watford Business Park. We have built up a good relationship with the local college and have employed a number of students following work experience placements and support other local charities such as the Peace Hospice.

"WBC representatives contacted us last week to arrange a meeting to discuss the way forward and we are hoping that they will be able to help us in relocating and the expenses that this impending move will put upon us. 

"We fully understand the reasons why Watford Council want to redevelop the site and we hope that they will help us move forward and enable us to make this move without too much disruption and costs."

Elected mayor Peter Taylor said: “This move is about supporting our local businesses to make sure they have good quality employment space.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of a town like Watford. It’s important that we continue to attract new businesses, support the ones we have and keep them within our community. A key part of this is providing the right spaces and conditions for them to thrive and grow. That is why we are investing in the business park and why this action is necessary.”