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Watford SME Business Forum

The Watford SME Business Forum is a way for local businesses to discuss their challenges, strengths and opportunities in the area.  It was chaired by the Watford Council MD, Manny Lewis and Watford’s Mayor, Peter Taylor and focused on news and projects concerning transport, housing and business affairs.

The forum was held at the GAMA Healthcare Watford office and one of the Co founders, Guy Braveman spoke about GAMA and how it started and has grown.  Every NHS hospital in the UK now uses its products and I thought this was a great fact.

Transport

At every forum the cancelled MET line extension comes up, but effectively this was cancelled by the London Mayor, Mr Khan.  Everyone is disappointed by this, but when Watford is not a London Borough, you can understand why it is not in his best interests.  In fairness to Watford and Hertfordshire they met all their obligations, but were let down by the London Mayor and TFL.  We were told the land will be secured, so that in the future the link could be built, which is some positive news.

A new app will be developed to put all of Watford’s transport in one place, this includes the new bus and bike scheme.

The bike scheme is exciting, it will be similar to the scheme in London, and as long as they can work out the logistics of paying for the transport on one app or card, it should be a positive addition to the town.

Housing

Watford is seeing a lot of new housing developments.  This was a hot topic, as the proposal for over 1100 homes on the TK Maxx and the Range site has been given the green light.  Concerns ranged from parking, to schools and traffic which were all addressed by the MD and the Mayor.

The amount of new homes in the Watford Junction area is going to have an effect on the town.  The council seem to think that the buyers of these homes will not have their own cars and only use public transport.  I feel there needs to be commercial space with these homes as well, which would help to serve the new and existing residents.

Watford Business Festival

A new idea from Watford Council is to have a week of business activities. They asked us what they think we should do.

Connecting the businesses together was suggested, I am always surprised by the new businesses based in Watford such as GAMA healthcare.  Business awareness and networking would be beneficial for all.  Another idea from the meeting was a way to notify businesses of what is happening in Watford.  This currently does not happen.  The event will happen in October and it will be really interesting to see what happens.

Overall, the forum is a great way to find out what is happening in Watford. It is a voice for small and large businesses to speak directly to the people who are making decisions in Watford.

If you are investing in Watford then you want to know what opportunities there are for the business and the staff.  I think the increase in homes, will help bring more residents to the town which in turn will also help recruitment and increase work opportunities.