Watford business chiefs have hailed the area's resilience after revealing nearly all the town centre's vacant units are under offer.

Currently there are around 10 empty sites in High Street - which includes one next to KFC and another that was formerly Absolutely Fabulous Tanning Salon near Watford Colosseum.

But a spokesperson for Watford's Business Improvement District (BID), which is tasked with supporting commerce in the area, revealed there has been a wave of interest in them despite challenges posed by the pandemic.

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She added council research into 'meanwhile use' lettings - when businesses fill vacant units short-term - showed there were not enough units to match the interest, which reflects the resilience of Watford's town centre.

Jill Farnsworth, BID's head of operations and development, said: “While the town centre has been rocked by some major losses in the past 12 months, including its John Lewis and Debenhams department stores, Watford once again demonstrates its remarkable resilience as new businesses continue to open in our town centre, with nearly all the vacant units on the High Street under offer.”

BID and Watford Borough Council also revealed there were more plans in the pipeline to boost local businesses - following thousands of pounds' worth of grants being made available in recent weeks.

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The vacant Boga premises

Watford Borough Council’s managing director Donna Nolan said: “Since the pandemic started, Watford Borough Council and Watford BID along with other partners across the town have united to ensure that we maintain our reputation as the region’s top leisure, shopping and entertainment destination.

“We were one of the first councils in the country to formulate and put into action a plan that will ensure we continue to thrive long into the future, building on Watford’s excellent attractions – including theatres, restaurants, bars, shops, cinema, bowling alley, an evolving market and much more.

“To make this happen, our public health team has been working on the frontline throughout, offering support to our wonderful business community and helping people to feel safe and welcome.”

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She continued: “Covid showed us how much people value the town centre as a space to relax and socialise, which we have recognised with our vibrant outdoor events programme set to lift off this summer.

“Watford Market is also getting a makeover and has welcomed a number of new traders.

“We have so much to offer as a town and because of this we’ve managed to continue to attract new shops and businesses despite the pandemic."