Harlequin Shopping Centre
The Harlequin Centre, in the centre of Watford, is the biggest shopping centre in Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom, and is visited by over 17 million customers each year. It was built as a rival to Brent Cross and opened in 1992. The centre contains a number of retailers, including John Lewis, bhs, Marks & Spencer, Zara, and Next.

Design and development
During the development of the centre, listed high street buildings were renovated and Queen's Road was maintained as a cross route through the town. It is a glass roofed structure, with symmetrical malls. A gallery on the third floor exhibits the work of local artists.

History
The 1962 estimate was £3,000,000 to include a ten-pin bowling alley and 130 flats, and this rose to £130,000,000 when the plans were presented in 1986. The Sainsbury's store on Queen's Road and the Odeon cinema on the High Street were bought and demolished (1983) to create space for the centre and a warehouse. By 1992, this sub-regional shopping centre had caused most of the local high street shops to go out of business. Councillors wanted a swimming element in the complex ‘to retain life in the evenings’ but the developers decided that swimming and shopping would not mix. The Council settled for building Watford Springs swimming and leisure centre on the old Benskin's Brewery site on the High Street. After eleven years, the leisure centre was knocked down, costing around £12,000,000 total. The council is currently in talks with developers interested in regenerating neighbouring Charter Place, and have issued a planning brief. Watford Borough Council have the planning brief on their website and announced in September 2009 that they have shortlisted five organisation for this role which will bring a better retail offer and connectivity to The Harlequin Centre.

Transport

Rail
The centre is closely served by Watford High Street station ( London Overground) and is about 10 minutes walk from Watford Junction ( National Rail and London Overground). Croxley Rail Link will bring this station into use as an underground stop on the Metropolitan line.

Bus
There are many bus stops in the town centre which serve the Harlequin Centre.

Road
The Watford Ring Road circles the shopping centre providing access for cars to the car parks.

Bike
There are many cycle paths in Watford, and some go through the town. There are bike sheds in the town centre.

Media

2 photos