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Pryzm nightclub in Watford at risk of closing due to house plans

Watford’s biggest nightclub will close if tentative plans to build more than a hundred homes are approved.

Pryzm’s future has been threatened by a proposal for 146 homes on a site in The Parade which includes the popular club.

the Observer was told that if the downtown plans came to fruition, it would “cause Pryzm to close”.

The development, which also includes the Icelandic supermarket site and car park, is supported by the building’s owners, Watford Parade (Gibraltar) Limited.

Pryzm, which has a lease on the site and more than 100 staff, says it hopes the redevelopment attempts will be “condemned” by the council.

Those promoting the development say they are currently engaging with Watford Borough Council, the local planning authority, on its proposal.

Dwyer Asset Management Limited, which is promoting the site on behalf of owners, says it wants to create a new “family retail space”, which will also include new homes.

Emerging plans indicate that around 146 homes would be built – one-, two- and three-bed – including an undetermined number of affordable homes, as well as two retail units, in an eight-story building.

A representative from the project team said: “We are currently engaging with Watford Borough Council to shape the emerging proposals and we look forward to hearing what residents have to say.

“We have sought to present proposals that respect the character of the neighborhood, while taking the opportunity to attract more people to the city center, alongside a new family-friendly retail space that will contribute to the vibrancy and economic viability of Watford High Street.”

At this stage, no planning application has been filed but there is an intention to do so “in the near future”.

Part of this site is included in the draft local plan of the municipality which is about to be adopted in the fall. The plan indicates where houses can be built to meet the government’s housing targets.

Although there are no official plans yet, a public consultation has been launched as developers seek initial feedback on its proposal.

Feedback can be given through a website set up specifically for this program – https://www.theparadewatford.com/

Pryzm is Watford and Hertfordshire’s biggest nightclub with clubbers traveling from all over the county and even London for a night out.

It was formerly known as Oceana before being renamed Pryzm in 2016.

A spokesman for Rekom UK, owners of Pryzm, told the Observer: “Pryzm are one of the most successful and longest running clubs in the south of England. Formerly Top Rank, Baileys, Paradise Lost, Kudos, Destiny, Oceana and now PRYZM, it has entertained millions of visitors for 40 years and we hope it will continue to do so for years to come.

“It plays a key role in the success of other bars and restaurants in the city center and alone employs over 100 people.

“The owner is within its rights to explore alternative options for the site, but we hope the people of Watford and the planning department will see the attempts to remove the key attraction of the night economy, which attracts businesses, creates jobs and drives income, for yet another residential project.”

Last year, there were fears the club could not reopen after suffering financially due to the pandemic. But when Covid restrictions were eased, Pryzm Watford reopened and have been welcoming clubbers ever since.

Iceland has been approached for comment.

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement