The consultation period has now closed and the project is currently under construction but you can still view our consultation images below to learn more about the design. You can keep up to date with regular project updates here


7 Responses to “CONSULTATION”

  1. 1 Tony williams January 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Quite clearly there is a vision here, it appears that this consultation does not divulge what it is, maybe in keeping with other consultations it is a lip service thing.
    That said I fail to see why and how spending a large amount of money at the top end of town will change it, there will still be a lot of bars and it will still be an area where people come to drink and get drunk, maybe it will be worse if there are large covered areas that drunk people can congregate in.
    Also the apparent desire to use this for markets, does this disguise an intent to run down the existing indoor market and replace the bulk of trading with quasi shops, infrequent specialist markets , pop up shops and themed markets. If so should this not be stated policy.
    With a stated idea of a “civic space “ why not just clean up and uplift theexisting?

  2. 2 Peter Jeffree June 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I’ve just been to view these boards on display in Charter Place and I’m very impressed with the thought and care that has gone into responding to the feedback given to the ideas presented thus far. Good work by BDP.
    The remodelled pond really will improve the look of the area, enhance circulation/connectivity between the two sides of The Parade and help to improve the usefulness of the open spaces.
    Losing the dedicated cycle lanes may be controversial but in reality most pedestrians don’t recognise them and cyclists tend to treat them as an entitlement to go too fast without taking due care. Losing the segregation will require cyclists and pedestrians to be more considerate, tolerant and ride more slowly. On balance I think this is the right way to go.
    Simplified surface treatments and more open events and performing spaces which the plans provide are very welcome improvements, as are the additional tree planting along The Parade and tree screening between The Parade and Rickmansworth Road.
    Some points to consider for the next stage: I think the idea of artwork on the flyover is a mistaken one. The flyover is a somewhat unlovely and brutal structure, but now that is has been cleaned it’s buff tone blends fairly well with the stonework on adjacent buildings and helps it become just part of the background. Making it a big feature is likely to be a visually jarring element in an otherwise pleasantly understated scheme.
    Thought should be given to animating the space beneath the flyover. There is spare space at each end which could usefully be used for small kiosks – perhaps for small cafes, exhibition spaces etc. rather than gloomy and grubby forgotten corners.
    The tall light columns defining the performance space at the Ricky Road end need to be handled with care. Their design should reflect the understated elegant character of the rest of the proposals and not be brightly coloured or visually jarring ‘look at me’ elements.
    Finally, and accepting that this is well beyond the scope of the current exercise we really should actively pursue longer term ways of achieving an at-grade pedestrian connection between The Parade and the ‘Civic Quarter’ to replace the underpass. The underpass is too narrow to provide the level of connectivity needed to properly integrate these vitally important parts of our town, and much useful open space is destroyed by the ramps and steps. Do we really need Ricky Road to be a six lane highway at this point when the road is only two lanes wide to the East and West? This is the legacy of car obsessed traffic planner thinking of the ’70s and ’80s and it is high time we rowed back on it. We need a bit of radical thinking to redress the balance and give more priority of movement to pedestrians.

    Overall the current proposals are a great effort by the design team and I think that within the scope of their brief, they have got the design concepts largely correct. I look forward to seeing it all implemented……and in the longer term I look forward to tackling that road!

  3. 3 trt1968 June 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

    No No No No!
    It’s one thing to acknowledge the mistakes that one has made, but it is quite another to throw good money after bad.
    This is undoing some of the changes made during the last high street revamp, which really wasn’t that long ago. Many of the things done during the last set of works were pointless and ridiculous, but we’ve come to live with them. In these times of austerity, the last thing a council needs to be seen doing is pouring cash away like this. Come on, Dorothy, please. Show some restraint. You’ve wasted money on this consultation already, stop the haemorrhage right now. You have the power.
    Just read the comments on the Watford Observer’s coverage of this to see how unpopular these ideas actually are. There are dozens of areas of Watford where these monies could make a real difference.
    Work on the pond is not a case of “build it and they will come”, it’s more a case of “whatever you do or don’t do, they will still come”.
    The Lower High Street is a complete and utter embarrassment to the town – it has become a concrete jungle, congested at one end between Dalton Way and Bushey Arches, and almost devoid of life between Dalton Way and High Street station. It used to be a bit run down, but still alive, with the Springs, Shades nightclub, Sewfine, The Wheatsheaf public house etc. Now… well, you just have to go there to see what it’s like.

    The Parade is completely the wrong place for this focus.
    Sorry, but that’s my opinion, and I do feel quite strongly about it.

  4. 4 June 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    The key issue is that while mood boards look nice, the reality will be different things will be chopped and changed. Basically this is a makeover not a redesign. Is it worth £4.3 million in todays climate – it looks nice but can we justify it?. The plans from the 1990’s included many of the proposed elements – including the bridge anmd the 20% reduction in the pond to create a space – resurrected here. The changes to the pond were rejected on grounds of unpopularity; cost and a realisation that a change for changes sake would not drive and substantial benefits. The extra tree planting of that plan was also rejected last time because of ongoing maintenance issues. Repairs to the surfacing will quickly lead to a patchwork of materials, unless a stock of orginal material is laid down in store. But the current 12 year old surfaces are still in reasonable condition. I think it is a valid point about there no longer nbeing a need to create a distinct cyclepath. But thats because we have moved on from the time when people did not think cycles & pedestrians could/should share a space. A lot of the defined radway with the biolards was also from a time that needed to destinguish the roadway with a physical and visual indicator – but i nebver liked it. The access to this area of town is critical – What will generate footfall to make day time business relocate here – not nice paving and a funky bridge over the pond? This area is the most remote part of the town centre in terms of public transport – bus routes are orientated to take people away not towards this area. The train stations are a long walk. Removing road traffic (blue badge parkers and taxi’s) simply increases its isolation. Already the area around the Harlequin is evolving to become the day time cafe zone – the new restaurants on Kings Road/High Street street will further decrease the need to go towards the pond area during the day to eat/drink/socialise. A cinema in Charter Place is another likely node that will make family/day time food and drink offers unlikely to locate near the pond area. An ‘event’ space by self definition is not going to generate 300 days trade for retailers. The whole plan and vision is based on a misconception that a series of events can be sustained that will lead to a change in business opportunity. As a result the design has been centred on creating a flat area for events. If an event area is needed in the town centre, a better location would be the area around Church Car park which is a large grassed area of little practical use. The top of the parade area has a lot of 1960’s space originally designed for retail (Fine Fare supermarket; Gade House Department store; Caters Supermarket; Gas Board show room; Electricity Board showroom, etc) – All had moved on by the 1980’s as retail moved towards Charter Place and out of town (and watford council is planning another hypermarket out of town at Ascot Road and options for more at Watford Junction; Health Campus and Frogmore House Lower High Street). Only Sainsbury (which replaced a cinema) is a destination store in the area. The large retail spaces have become the pubs that generate the business that people want but not the downsides in the evening that older people dislike. The problem is if the pubs go what will fill the spaces – The restaurants were the second wave of A3 uses and are only there because of the pub/club trade. So you need to build new business on the existing established businesses – This revamp might change the way the area is used Thu – Sun after 8pm but will not make a spot of difference to trade on Tuesday lunchtimes! Without a genuine generator of footfall, i think the vision will not be met – therefore the scheme is not value for money, and can only be justified if the existing infrastructure is in need of replacement – which will not be the case for another 10 years or so.

  5. 5 Hannah June 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I have looked at the proposals and these look really lovely and really exciting. BUT I don’t visit the area of town under consultation now and to be honest, even if you do all this to it – why would I suddenly start? Except maybe to show the children the new bit of town once or twice. There is nothing at the top of town for someone like me (late thirties with children under 5). If I need to shop, most of what we could possibly need is in the Harlequin or that end of town and even then we visit quite rarely and quickly (cost of parking / travel) .There is nothing different you could provide at this top part of town regularly that I can think of that would make it a ‘must go’ destination for us. Until I read the other comments I was simply thinking well if you’re going to spend the money this is what might be good but now maybe we don’t need to really spend the money. Get the people to visit that end first or change what’s up there (shops to homes?). Is there any possibility to make the area more residential – it might be a fantastic place to live with the improvements outlined? new road material, or benches isn’t going to really make any difference albeit a nice new look. sorry if I’ve missed the point

  6. 6 Cathy June 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    The top of town would benefit from the proposed improvements, but unless the type of businesses we have at this end of town change, the drink culture will still take over every night, which is the main problem Watford has. I hope the council find a way of resolving this, as I would ilke to spend more time enjoying the communal areas of the centre of Watford with my children, especially at the weekends in the early evening.

  7. 7 Freerunning Community July 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    As a member of the local parkour/freerunning community I understand that my opinion is of a minority in Watford; however, given that this area is used very frequently by freerunners I would like to extend the proposal that if you are to go ahead with these plans I would ask for there to be thought into some obstacles for us to train on. I am aware that this request will almost immediately be dismissed, yet I am willing to propose such a development due to the fact that this area is at present a very popular spot in Watford for us to train at. And whilst we train we find that many people like to watch us and are entertained by our movement. I hope you consider the freerunning community’s thoughts on this development, and get in touch with BHB Parkour for advise as to what we would enjoy to train on.
    Thank you for your time

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