Watford Council plans comms drive to support £1.5bn regeneration

A wide-reaching comms programme is being planned by Watford Borough Council as the area undergoes major regeneration as part of a £1.5bn investment blueprint.

New space: Watford's Riverwell regeneration is among major projects planned in the area
New space: Watford's Riverwell regeneration is among major projects planned in the area

Redevelopment projects including an extension to the Metropolitan underground line that encompasses two new stations, improvements to Watford High Street, and a swathe of new homes, mean the area is experiencing significant change.

To meet the comms need, Watford Borough Council has signed a £150,000 deal with agency Remarkable Group to provide PR consultancy services over the next four years.

The comms and engagement work is critical to make sure local residents and businesses are aware of the changes and to share the story of Watford more widely, explained the council’s managing director, Manny Lewis. 

"Watford Borough Council has a vision to create a bold and progressive future for Watford, and has developed an ambitious and challenging agenda to improve and promote the town that we serve," he told PRWeek.

"Effective communications and engagement are an important part of this, ensuring our residents know what is going on in Watford and feel involved in shaping decisions that affect them, their neighbourhood and the town. 

"We also know that getting the message out beyond the borough that Watford is a vibrant and dynamic place to live, work and do business is one way we can ensure the town continues to thrive."

The timeline of the contract, which runs until October 2021, means the new Metropolitan Line is expected to be open by 2020, but work also includes closing the existing Watford station.

Meanwhile, a project to transform 65 acres of land around Watford Hospital will take place over the next 15 years, to create 750 new homes, as well as leisure and retail space.

"We undertook a robust tendering process to appoint a communications and community engagement specialist," added Lewis.

"Remarkable Group was chosen to provide the additional expertise and resource to develop this important dialogue and to support our engagement with stakeholders."

Remarkable Group was appointed for the work after a 10-agency competitive tender process.         

Julius Duncan, managing director at Remarkable Group, said: "We are delighted to be working with Watford Borough Council and their communications team on this ambitious brief to help them communicate and engage with residents and those beyond Watford.

"We are still in the early stages of planning and look forward to the next few years ahead."

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