With viewing areas now set up around the Market Place Improvement works in Wokingham Town Centre, the area’s great new look is emerging.
The York Stone that will provide Market Place’s finish is now being laid in Broad Street at the Town Hall and passers-by are getting a glimpse of the long-awaited new look.
Wokingham Town Council Mayor Peter Lucey said: “We always determined on a high-quality finish, and I’m delighted to see that now emerging. Our townspeople and visitors can now get the full idea of the end result – a stylish, uncluttered, configurable town centre marketplace, with a multiplicity of uses, where contemporary and historic elements fully complement each other.
“As well as the York Stone paving, we are also seeing the tree pits going into place. These are major installations, 4-meters cubed, with supplied water and nutrients, such that, unlike in the past, attractive and appropriate town centre trees will be able to grow without their roots damaging the paving or utilities.”
The improvement works have been delayed due to the unforeseen volume of problems found underground once the project began. These have included a ‘spaghetti junction’ of utility pipework that has had to be tidied and the discovery of more historic layers of road and building than had been previously recorded. Unfortunately, many utility providers do not have up to date information about older pipes and cables and so it is inevitable that, in area such as Wokingham Town Centre, there will be undocumented pipes and cables.
It is now expected that the work in Broad Street will be completed by mid-March (current expectation March 23) and the project will then move on to Denmark Street. At that point, Broad Street will be re-opened and Denmark Street will be closed.
The delays to date have obviously had an effect on the overall timing of the project and it is now expected that overall project will be completed in July. However, this is dependent on underground conditions found when work begins in Denmark Street.
Wokingham Borough Council executive member for transport and highways Cllr Keith Baker said: “We understand that delays are frustrating and we completely share that frustration. This an extremely difficult project during which our contractors have had to keep a town centre as open as possible while ensuring pedestrians safety and dealing with very significant unforeseen issues underground. They have also had to be mindful that this is a once in a generation opportunity to transform Wokingham town centre and that the end result needs to be right.”
Wokingham Town Council produces regular newsletters and updates on the Market Place Improvement Project. To sign up to receive these please contact Wokingham Town Clerk Jan Nowecki on (0118) 978 3185 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also a monthly drop-in session, normally held on the last Friday of each month, although the next one will be Friday March 23 because March 30 is Good Friday.
Current work schedule
The current work schedule (please note this may be subject to change):
March 23: Broad Street reopened to traffic
March 23: Denmark Street closed to traffic
Early April: main area of Market Place completed
Early May: Area in front of Broad Street shops completed
Mid June: Denmark Street carriageway works complete
Mid July: Market Place and Denmark Street shop front complete
The latest newsletter about the Market Place Improvement Scheme has now been published.