Watford is an urban borough in South West Hertfordshire, on the edge of the East of England region to the north-west of London. It covers an area of 2,142 hectares (8.3 square miles) and is the only non-metropolitan borough wholly contained within the M25 and the largest town in Hertfordshire.
However, about 20% of the Borough forms part of the Metropolitan Green Belt and this is supplemented by a variety of green, open spaces. It is a compact borough with 96,800 people living within the Borough boundary.
The Borough has excellent transport links with mainline rail connections to London, the Midlands and the North, Underground and Overground connections to central London (under 20 minutes travel time), its north-west suburbs and the rural Chilterns, community rail connections to St Albans, coach services to Heathrow airport, bus services to Luton airport and convenient road connections via the M1, M25 and A41.
A long-established urban centre, with a market charter dating to the 12th century, Watford has always been a strong location for business and industry. Today the town remains a successful commercial hub and is a desirable place in which to live, work and enjoy leisure time. Demand for housing is high for those seeking homes to buy or rent. This has meant house prices and rental costs in the town have grown in recent years but they remain competitive compared to London prices.
Local businesses are active and engaged in local governance and partnerships which help underpin commercial vitality, and the large, skilled working-age population makes a significant contribution to the local economy, as well as embracing the close links with London. The town is currently home to around 5,900 businesses with a good mix of company size and sector, including a higher than average number of large businesses and HQs. There is representation from financial and professional services sectors, pharmaceutical, health sciences, creative media, manufacturing and retail and leisure industries, amongst many others.
Watford is the centre of a sub-region serving around 500,000 people, living within a 20-minute travelling time catchment. Known for traditional industries including printing, the town has successfully diversified into an attractive and popular regional shopping and business centre and a focus for culture and recreation. Watford’s town centre attracts visitors to enjoy its broad retail offer and vibrant night time economy. The recently completed £180 million extension to intu Watford, accompanying public realm enhancements and comprehensive events programme have enabled the High Street to fare well during a challenging period for town centres across the UK. CACI have recently placed Watford in the top 20 retail destinations list demonstrating the towns continued attractiveness to the market as one of the premier retailing destinations nationally.