Last night (30 March) Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee resolved to grant consent for planning application (153125) for the land between Wellington Road and Shute End (Elms Field and Paddocks car park).
The borough council’s exciting proposals will see a range of benefits delivered for the town centre including an improved variety and range of shops and leisure facilities, a new cinema, food store, hotel and homes; all framing an improved park with a bigger play area.
Bernie Pich, head of town centre regeneration at Wokingham Borough Council, said: "We are pleased with the committee’s decision which recognises the huge amount of work the council has carried out to make sure these plans are right for the town.
"These plans are the culmination of many years of consultation, with local residents and businesses, with leading commercial and residential advisors, discussions with the local planning authority and market testing with businesses to make sure we can attract the right quality and types of new businesses to the town centre."
The need to regenerate the town centre was first identified by the council in 2004 while producing the Core Strategy which identified the type of infrastructure required for supporting more than 13,500 new homes across the Wokingham Borough.
This led to the production of the Managing Development Delivery planning document, which allocates the regeneration sites along with other sites in the town centre for development, as well as the Town Centre Masterplan supplementary planning document which identified where and how growth should be delivered in the town centre if it is to thrive and remain sustainable for generations to come.
Bernie Pich added: "While we remain aware of the concerns around developing part of this site, the council has had to balance this against the benefits regeneration brings all residents, visitors and businesses in the town centre.
"These include a better mix and variety of shops and businesses, entertainment facilities such as the cinema, new public spaces and pedestrianised areas, all surrounding a large town park with a bigger and better play area.
"Proposals like these will help create the town centre our existing and future residents deserve with better quality facilities and services on their doorstep."
The council plans to proceed with the phased delivery of the proposals in spring 2017, with expected completion by 2020.