The Co-op store in the Meriden estate will stay open until at least the start of next year.

This comes after fears that the store was planning to close next Wednesday (August 19).

Residents argued that if the Co-op closed, there would be no food store within walking distance for elderly and vulnerable people who live on the estate.

It has now been confirmed that the food store has now signed a new short-term lease with Watford Community Housing, which will start from October.

The shop will continue to operate in its current premises until February next year.

The Co-op has not responded to the Observer’s requests for clarification and comment.

The Meriden is currently under construction and under the developer’s plans, the existing shops on the parade will be replaced by a new parade of shops.

Watford Community Housing previously told the Observer that all the existing shops on the parade would move over to the newly built units in September.

But this is now not the case as Covid-19 has slowed the process of construction. The parade is expected to be completed in 2021.

WCH said in a statement it has been working with Co-op with a view to move it over to the new parade in due course while ensuring they can operate on the current site until then.

It said that Co-op’s position going forward depends on the timing of the handover of the new store and the termination of the proposed new lease.

This means if Co-op was to move to the new parade, the construction of the units would need to be done by the time their new lease runs out. But the housing association expects the units to be finished by the time the lease is up.

The housing association has said that Co-op and other retailers have the right of first refusal on the new site. It added that no alternative retailer has been offered a contract for one of the new units at this stage amid rumours that a Tesco express would move into the parade.

But newsagents Martin’s, which is under McColl’s group, will be closing this Friday (August 14) despite being offered a unit and having a lease that would have allowed them to continue trading at the existing parade in the meantime.

A spokesperson for McColl’s said: "Having explored all options, regretfully we have taken the difficult decision not to renew the lease at the Martin’s store on the Meriden estate parade in Watford."