Plans to build a new police station near the town hall are in the pipeline, according to Mayor Dorothy Thornhill.

Details of a pre-application, seen by the Watford Observer this week, suggests the existing police station in Shady Lane and nearby magistrates court could be knocked down to make way for 55 flats.

READ MORE: Police station could make way for 55 flats

Mayor Thornhill said she became concerned as soon as the magistrates court closed in 2015 as it freed up a large frontage onto Clarendon Road in the process.

She said rumours of the police station closing appeared more realistic when the town’s custody cells were closed later that same year.

Calling the current police station a “concrete monstrosity” which is not fit for purpose, Mayor Thornhill said plans are afoot to temporarily relocate the town’s bobbies in a “terrapin” modular building near the town hall until a new, purpose-built headquarters is constructed.

“We’re engaged in constructive, positive discussions to build a new police station on the side of the town hall,” she said, stressing that talks were still at an early stage.

“It’s an opportunity to put something better in Clarendon Road and get a police station that works for Watford. I made it clear to (Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner) David Lloyd that Watford needs a police station.”

She added that good blue light access and egress would be an important requirement, and that amendments to the road layout would need to be made if the town hall location was chosen.

A formal planning application is expected to be submitted over the summer.

Hertfordshire Constabulary has always maintained it would keep a police base in the town.

David Lloyd said: “The existing Watford police station requires significant investment in order to remain operational in the long term.

"The closure of the adjoining magistrates court has presented us with a good opportunity to work with the Ministry of Justice and the local council to develop proposals for how best to use the existing site.

"A joint proposal – submitted by consultants on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, my office and the constabulary – will allow a business case to be made to see what uses the site could have in the future.

"This will ensure we have a modern and fit-for-purpose police station in Watford, either at this location or another in the town centre.”