Watford Borough Council’s plans for a £20million major redevelopment project to create a business park fit for the future and that will provide a modern, leading-edge home for business have been approved.
The 30 hectare Watford Business Park – located by Greenhill Crescent and Faraday Close – is one of the key employment hubs in the town with over 100 businesses employing 1000-1200 people from Watford and beyond.
Whilst it is a major employment area, a significant proportion of the existing buildings are old and not geared to the current needs of business.
Watford Borough Council recognised the potential of the Park and the bigger role a more up to date and innovative development could play in the town’s business profile and the local economy.
Working with local partners to redevelop the site, the council has secured a £5 million Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to improve the Park and increase its employment capacity, with the potential to create an additional 180 jobs in the town.
Award-winning architecture, urban design and landscape architecture practice Studio Egret West has been appointed to create the design for a new landmark development, to be known as Greenhill Works, which is the first phase of the council’s proposed regeneration scheme.
Greenhill Works signals the start of investment by the council and Hertfordshire LEP to regenerate this key employment hub in the town and ‘set the tone’ for companies looking to move into the area.
The project includes the design of 7,100 square metres of commercial premises and associated parking and landscaping as well as a new access route into the site.
The buildings, which will feature modern, flexible business units are intended to boost regeneration throughout this key employment hub in the town.
Greenhill Works offers a range of unit sizes targeted at small and medium sized business.
Potential occupiers could include businesses in the film, TV, life sciences and manufacturing sectors.
Work on the new development is expected to start this year, starting with the demolition of existing buildings in March 2021 and construction expected to get underway in October 2021.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said: “We are extremely excited to be launching Greenhill Works. Supporting our local businesses and creating the right environment for them to flourish is absolutely vital and a top priority for the council. Our local businesses are the lifeblood of our town, creating jobs and prosperity and keeping the town vibrant and successful.
“A key part of this is providing the right spaces and conditions for them to thrive and grow. To do this we have to offer high-quality spaces and places that people want to work in. Our aspiration for the redevelopment of this gateway zone at the entrance to the Park is that, as well as attracting new businesses to the area, it will act as a catalyst to regenerate the rest of Watford Business Park.”
Adam Wood, head of infrastructure & regeneration at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “The volume of available business premises in Hertfordshire has been significantly depleted in recent years. In order to maintain Hertfordshire’s contribution to the national economy, the vitality of our towns and cities, and to provide local employment opportunities for residents, it is essential that we continue to offer high quality spaces where our businesses can grow.
“The regeneration of Watford Business Park will expand the area’s employment capacity and capitalise on the town’s excellent transport links, skilled workforce, and strong business base. We are delighted to support this scheme, which complements our wider programme of investment in Watford, including the regeneration of Clarendon Road, Trade City, Riverwell and Watford Junction station.”
Christophe Egret, Founder of Studio Egret West, “Business parks should no longer be isolated industrial zones, and must instead be fully and seamlessly integrated into their urban fabric. At Greenhill Works, the green corridors, attractive buildings, and quality materials all point to a desirable destination that enhances its context for users as well as passing visitors.”
To date, development of four new light industrial units have been completed and released to the market.
You can find out more about the project at greenhillworkswatford.info