Work has started on the first of a series of improvement projects aimed at bringing Watford Junction into the 21st century. The initial project aims to enhance the forecourt area outside the station building and create an improved ‘gateway’ to the town centre.
This project is the start of a long awaited and ambitious plan to transform Watford Junction, with works due to start on radical improvements to the concourse area of the station in spring 2021. This is being led by Network Rail and developer Halkin. Improvements to the current long stay and short stay car park situation are also being looked at.
Watford Borough Council, working closely with its partners London North Western Railway, Network Rail and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is transforming the forecourt area of Watford Junction to create a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment, and improving its character with more open, multifunctional space.
Plans include new paving and lighting, lots of green planting, seating and visitor signposting along with the beginning of a heritage trail that visitors can follow through the town centre and learn interesting things about Watford’s history as they go.
One of the most noticeable additions will be the large freestanding letters spelling out ‘WATFORD’. These will be a great focal point for the concourse and will encourage visitors’ photos and related social media posts, raising the profile of the town in a positive and highly visible way.
A new Beryl bike share bay will also be installed at the front of the station encouraging visitors to cycle into the town centre and commuters to use the bikes to get to onward destinations around the town. The hugely popular scheme now has 70 bays across Watford and more than 32,000 rides have taken place on the bikes since its launch in March.
Tina Barnard, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP’s Strategic Infrastructure Board said: “We are delighted to help kickstart the transformation of Watford Junction station, which will provide the modern facilities needed to support a long term modal shift towards public transport. This work forms a key part of the wider Clarendon Road regeneration scheme, supported by our £5m Local Growth Fund investment, which has breathed new life into the town’s major commercial thoroughfare, providing a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for local businesses, residents and visitors.”
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “8 million people a year travel through Watford Junction station. I am really excited to kickstart these works to bring our station into the 21st century. This will make the station forecourt a more welcoming and interesting place and will be a much better first impression for people coming to our town.”
In order to facilitate the improvements, bike parking has been moved from the forecourt to a secure 300 capacity bike parking facility just seconds away in a lane just off the car park entry road. You can find out more at www.watford.gov.uk/majorprojects
Pictured above: Andy Smith (Head of Transport, Watford Borough Council), Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Councillor, Hertfordshire County Council), Tina Barnard (Chair, Hertfordshire LEP Strategic Infrastructure Board), Peter Taylor (Mayor of Watford), Donna Nolan (Managing Director, Watford Borough Council) and Sarah Higgins (Head of Stations, London Northwestern Railway).