Senior councillors have given the green light to push forward with plans to regenerate the area around Watford town hall.

Watford Borough Council says its "ambitious" newly renamed Town Hall Quarter programme will "transform" the area around the Grade II listed building, securing its long-term future, as well as that of the nearby Watford Colosseum.

The scope of the programme "reflects the council’s commitment to building on Watford’s outstanding reputation for culture, entertainment and live performances", with plans to refurbish and enhance Watford’s history.

The regeneration will also provide an opportunity to build new homes with at least 300 earmarked on land around the town hall and next door leisure centre.

Plans to redevelop this area of town were first released back in 2019, as part of the then called Watford High Street (North) and Cultural Hub draft Masterplan.

This masterplan, split into three phases, revealed ways in which the council hoped to transform the upper part of Watford town centre, stretching from West Herts College down to Watford Market in the high street.

Read more: Bold plans to reshape town hall and Parade

In 2019, the council said Phase 1, which looked at transforming the area around the town hall, included proposals such as turning the town hall into a hotel, whilst keeping the council chamber.

Homes were earmarked in the car park at the back of the town hall, while the council said it wanted to move Watford Museum from Lower High Street into a new building next to Watford Library.

Finally, there were proposals to build a multi-storey car park on the current Avenue car park site, as well as change the road layout around The Avenue car park.

Hillingdon Times:

One side of Hempstead Road, by the entrance to the town hall, looks to become pedestrianised

Watford’s planners have been busy over the last year or so developing plans for the town hall and land around it, and now we know more about what we could see in the near future in this part of town.

Firstly, the council says it is "unlikely" the town hall will be turned into a hotel, however it does continue to consider future uses for the building.

The council has committed to investing £5m into the Colosseum, which it says is in "need of significant refurbishment", while culture and heritage "remain very much a driving force" so the potential move of Watford Museum to the area will be explored as part of the museum and heritage services review.

Read more: Council to spend £5m refurbishing Watford Colosseum

Hillingdon Times: Watford Colosseum, next door to Watford town hallWatford Colosseum, next door to Watford town hall

The council also wants to explore the development of a new innovation and incubation hub, which would it says would enhance the town’s offer for business, "providing inspiring, productive and connected working space".

And there is certainly an appetite to create a new "vibrant and attractive" neighbourhood, which would include at least 300 homes and public spaces.

Changing the road layout around The Avenue car park, pedestrianising one side, is still very much in the plan, but a multi-storey car park is unlikely due to its visual impact.

This could become pedestrianised with all traffic sent around the right-side of The Avenue car park

The council already confirmed last year it would not be pushing ahead with Phase 3 plans to remove the underpass in Rickmansworth Road.

Read more: Plans to remove underpass in Rickmansworth Road scrapped

On Monday, the council's Cabinet was asked to approve funding of £2.1 million to help progress the next stage of the Town Hall Quarter programme.

The money, which was already allocated within the council’s capital programme will fund further design work and help secure a development partner.

Hillingdon Times: Watford mayor Peter TaylorWatford mayor Peter Taylor

Watford mayor Peter Taylor said: Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said: "Having the right plans in place to help Watford prosper and thrive is more important than ever as we face the challenges and opportunities of the post Covid-19 world.

"The Town Hall Quarter will create an attractive and distinctive new neighbourhood in this part of the town, promoting Watford’s fantastic cultural and heritage sectors and playing an important role in our commitment to fostering new businesses and a strong local economy.

"Now we have given the green light, I am looking forward to the proposals taking shape so we can work with our residents and businesses on these exciting plans."