The £1 billion Watford Health Campus took one step closer to reality today.

After 18 months of discussions, key landowners involved in the project put their signatures on a Section 106 agreement that will provide £3 million of investment for vital infrastructure around the Vicarage Road site, including education and transport.

Now that the Section 106 agreement has been signed, outline planning permission first agreed in July 2008 can be officially approved.

Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, said: “I know how important the hospital and regeneration plans are to the people of Watford. This is another step closer to making it real.”

The Health Campus will be built on a 26.5 hectare site, which will provide a new 600-bed hospital to replace Watford General Hospital, more than 500 news homes, business units, a hotel, leisure and recreation space.

It will also include a new combined heat and power plant.

Thirty five per cent of the new homes will be social housing.

Among the payments will be £1 million for buses, and “several tens of thousands” of pounds for improved cycle routes and pathways.

A dedicated Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) will patrol the campus, and up to £500,000 will pay for new playing fields in Radlett Road and Gammons Lane, new changing facilities in Radlett Road and new tennis courts in Watford Heath.

Steve Cox, executive director of spatial economy at the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), said: "This is a landmark moment in the Watford Health Campus project. It will transform this part of Watford creating jobs and supporting businesses. Only by working together with our partners are we able to bring a huge amount of public and private sector funding to the town. It will deliver regeneration to the area, which is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable."

Jan Filochowski, chief executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, commented: “I am delighted that we have reached yet another significant milestone in the Watford Health Campus project. I look forward to continuing to work with the other stakeholders to deliver improved health facilities, as well as enhancing vital facilities for the wider community.”

Pictured: Back - (l-r) Glyn Evans, head of operations at Watford FC; Gerald Beasley, EEDA capital projects manager; Manny Lewis, Watford Borough Counil managing director; Peter Mitchell, the council's head of property. Front - Mayor Dorothy Thornhill; Jan Filochowski, chief executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.