Watford Borough Council claims it is "working constructively" with Watford FC to try and keep the club's stadium in the town.

Last week, the Watford Observer revealed that plans for a 33,000-seater carbon zero football stadium had been published after the private owners of Bushey Hall had put forward their site for redevelopment as part of Hertsmere Borough Council’s local plan, proposing the club as the occupier of the site.

Those plans were met with polarised views from supporters, some of whom said the new site could be a good opportunity to take the club forward, while others want them to stay in their historic home.

Included in those keen to see the club stay where they are now are Watford Borough Council, which said it is clear in its desire to keep the club in the town.

Plans for the site at Bushey Hall Golf Club

Plans for the site at Bushey Hall Golf Club

Following the emergence of the documents, Donna Nolan, Managing Director of Watford Borough Council, told the Observer: “Watford Borough Council is in ongoing talks with Watford FC and we have been clear we want them to stay in their home town.

"We are working constructively with the club in relation to Vicarage Road and looking forward to discussing any proposals they have for the stadium.

"We are actively working with the club including on how the plans for the redevelopment of Watford General Hospital may open up more opportunities for them to deliver their ambitions and remain in the town.”

The town's mayor Peter Taylor has also recently stated his desire to keep the stadium in Watford.

Despite the council's best wishes, redevelopment of the current stadium could depend heavily on development of Watford General Hospital next door.

The council explained that conversations around those developments, and how they might affect the club, are ongoing between both parties.

The council was also asked if any height or building restrictions could definitively prevent Vicarage Road from being expanded further, but none were provided.

The feasibility of expanding the current site is something the club has considered as well.

Back in 2018 CEO and chairman Scott Duxbury said he had "engaged a company to conduct a survey to see how we can expand the stadium but still keep the aesthetic look we have now.

"We are looking at two scenarios, one taking us to 25,000 and one taking us to 30,000. I would like to take us to 30,000, because it puts us in that tier of clubs just outside the top six."

At a fans forum in October, Duxbury said he was still happy with the current site, but a move away would be considered if it made sense.

He said: "I've always been happy with Vicarage Road, I think it's a great stadium and we'll continue to develop it.

"If commercially it made sense to move stadium, and it's not just an ego move, because the infrastructure was better, access for supporters was better, we would explore it."

Those explorations have at least begun tentatively, as last year the Observer reported talks had taken place with Hertsmere Borough Council about a potential stadium move to Bushey.

However, a club source said they were just "scoping out the opportunity".

The recent submission provides no guarantee the golf club will be taken forward in Hertsmere’s local plan, due to be published later this spring, nor that a new stadium will ever be built there, or that Watford will even leave Vicarage Road.

However, the latest planning document claims the club supports redevelopment of Bushey Hall.

An extract from the document states: "Watford Football Club endorse the promotion of the BHCG (Bushey Hall Golf Club) site for a new stadium as part of Hertsmere's new Local Plan, for proposals that would provide them with the opportunity to develop a new stadium and community hub in a location within the catchment of the club's existing supporter base."