The council received over 100 enquiries from potential developers, they short listed five who submitted proposals and will now be recommending 'London & Regional' as the preferred development partner for Charter Place. Apparently, London & Regional were chosen on their ability to deliver the development and not on the basis of a specific scheme design.
Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill said, "This is about investing in the future of the town. We are very confident that our preferred partner can deliver a revitalised Charter Place, operating in harmony with the theatre, market and High Street, which is what residents and businesses in Watford have told me they want for their town centre."
We are promised that assuming the Cabinet endorse the appointment on June 7th there will be further discussion with residents and the wider community before the new scheme is finalised.
The council's capital budget will fund the consultantation and development of the design scheme during 2010/11, which means, according to the council, that any changes in funding from central government will not affect the progress of the development.
Once the scheme is agreed and planning permission obtained it is hoped that the build will take between 12 and 18 months with a planned completion date of 2014/15.
Personnally, I'm all in favour of anything that enhances the town centre, encourages trade and is family friendly, especially if some of the mistakes of the past can be recognised and avioded. I'd love to see more restaurants and independant shops in the town. And let's face it Charter Place could benefit from a good scrub down. If the proposal runs to plan we're looking at at least 4 years before this development comes to fruition. I'd hate to see the area getting more run down in the meantime!