There are plans to change parking at Wokingham Borough Council’s Shute End civic offices from 23 July, for 12 weeks (October).
The changes are due to construction work starting on a through-road from Wellington Road in Wokingham to Shute End (across the eastern section of the civic offices car park) being built as part of the borough council’s multi-million regeneration scheme at Elms Field.
The existing Shute End entrance to the civic offices and the affected part of the car park will close until October for construction on the new road to start (where it will connect with Shute End). The current 17 visitor, eight Blue Badge parking spaces, and two electric charging points at the civic offices main entrance will be moved to the western part of the car park and be accessible via Station Road. There will also continue to be two allocated spaces for those visiting the council’s register office.
Signage will show visitors where to park and how to access the civic offices, from Station Road. Once parked, visitors will be able to enter the civic offices building via the back steps (from the pond) or from the side entrance on Shute End (up the ramp or steps).
As the eastern section of the car park will be closed during the works, there will be a reduced number of parking spaces for the general public in the evenings and at weekends. The weekday reduction of general parking spaces will primarily affect council staff and councillors, who will have to park elsewhere.
“To make our improvements to the town we sadly have no choice but to temporarily close parts of the car park at our civic offices,” said Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for regeneration.
“We’ve chosen to do this now, so that part of the 12-week period falls within the school summer holidays when the council offices are quieter.
“Visitors to the council offices will still be able to park in the visitor’s spaces, and I’m pleased to say the number of visitor and blue badge spaces available to them will remain unchanged.”
The changes to the car park requires an amendment to the Car Park Traffic Regulation Order which is subject to a statutory consultation period which began yesterday (21 June) for a period of 21 days.
Work started on Elms Field redevelopment in March and is moving at pace, with foundations being laid for the hotel, food store and cinema, and the new through-road (southern part) being laid out on the former Paddocks car park. The current work around the town centre stems from the realisation that massive investment was needed by the borough council to secure a vibrant future for the town centre.
The town centre lacked the range of shops and other attractions to draw in and keep visitors, so was losing far too much retail spend to its neighbours. Much of the land in the town centre was in the hands of private investors who lacked the ability to get the much-needed regeneration underway.
The solution was set out in the council’s Core Strategy and the Wokingham Town Centre Masterplan, both of which were adopted after much public consultation and engagement in 2010. All of this is now being delivered through a multi-million pound investment programme.