The wait’s nearly over as the shops, bars and other businesses lined-up to come to the new-look Wokingham start to prepare for trading.
Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for regeneration, said: “We’ve spent a lot of time listening to people’s comments about the type of businesses they would like to see in the town centre and looking at the mix of shops in similar towns to see what makes them a success.
“I’m very pleased to confirm some of the first names of businesses taking units at Peach Place. GAIL’s artisan bakers will be opening on Peach Street and Cook, the high-end frozen food retailer, opening on Rose Street. We’re also in the process of finalising dates to handover keys with lots of other businesses so will be releasing more names very soon.”
Cllr Mirfin added: “We’ve worked closely with our lettings agents to make sure our vision for the town - lots of local independents and boutiques mingling with excellent national names - becomes a reality.
“GAIL’s Bakery is a fantastic artisan bakers found in great locations such as Hampstead, Chiswick and Richmond. We’ve had several residents mention them to us over the years and we’re very pleased they have chosen Wokingham to open one of their few stores outside of London. This really shows their confidence in our town and we think they will be a great fit for Wokingham. GAIL’s Bakery has a strong local feel and the quality of their produce really stands out as does their award winning range of bread, pastries and cakes which are handmade every day using the best ingredients.
Cook - excellent addition
“Cook will also be an excellent addition to the town and, in their new location on Rose Street, will help to draw people to and from Waitrose increasing footfall in the town centre.
“Cook brings something completely new to the town centre and, with their fantastic range of very high quality food, will be a great complement to other retailers in the town centre and help attract new visitors to Wokingham. They also have great credentials as a business with an impressive range of community and charitable activities undertaken as well as being one of the best companies to work for in the UK.”
Cllr Mirfin continued: “The new pedestrian square will see more independent retailers coming to our town as we think they will work perfectly framing this more intimate space, with its opportunities for outdoor seating, relaxation and community use. We’ve already lined up lots of businesses for this space and, following some internal tweaks to these units to accommodate their layouts, we expect them to start opening up early next year and will be releasing some names soon.
“We’re also holding back two units on Peach Street for high-end fashion retailers who we think will be great for the town but do not wish to open until next year.”
These businesses will join the list of operators already secured for the town at Elms Field. Retailers already announced include boutique cinema Everyman Cinemas), an Aldi foodstore and a Premier Inn.
Borough residents are set to benefit twice from the regeneration schemes with the developments delivering, not only a fantastic town centre with far improved facilities, but also generating a brand new income year on year for the council which will be used to fund essential services for all residents.