There’s a consultation taking place on a proposed redevelopment to our town. The “Watford High Street (North) and Cultural Hub Masterplan” is on the council website, awaiting comments.

A consultation is happening, you should have your say. It’s a pretty brief consultation, mind - ending on Friday 13th September! If you’re wondering why you should bother then, make no mistake, these proposals will transform our town.

Headlines include: turning the town hall into a boutique hotel, pedestrianising the surrounding areas, filling in the traffic underpass, removing a car park, potentially building a multi-storey car park, moving the museum up to sit beside the library, changing Watford Market again, and hoping traffic levels revert to circa 1950 (humour).

Don’t get me wrong, changing our town to make things work better for communities and businesses is a good thing to do. The question for all of us is, do these proposals achieve that?

The Grade II listed old museum building “would be returned to its original residential use” (ie, probably turned into flats). The loss of locally listed Exchange House “would have to be justified in terms of benefits”.

The proposals contain much on promise - future playgrounds, improved gateway to Watford, cycle and pedestrian paradise; but little of concrete commitment.

Apparently, the town hall is not “fit for purpose”. Yet it comprises what a modern working environment should; offices, internet connectivity, proximity to local facilities, public transport access. Are the proposals actually about selling our public spaces to make a few quid?

However, there are positives. Some might not like it, but does it ‘make sense’ for the town? Imagine what this might look like if you don’t know Watford.

The important thing is to have your say. Visit

  • Cllr Matt Turmaine is a Labour councillor for Holywell