Our town centre regeneration team received a huge accolade recently when it scooped the National Planning and Placemaking Awards 2016 award for ‘Making Development Viable’.
Cllr Mark Ashwell, executive member for planning and regeneration, said: “Winning this award is a real testament to the work done by the council and its partners in creating a successful regeneration project for the town centre.
“We set ourselves a huge challenge early on when we decided any regeneration for the town centre had to be viable, self-funding and not rely on any tax payer subsidy. We’re really pleased we continued to stick to this principle throughout.
“Receiving such a prestigious award from an internationally recognised body like Planning and Placemaking Resource demonstrates our approach is an excellent one.”
The award is given to the most outstanding example of planning work across the UK which brings forward development, the viability of which has been threatened, while maintaining as much as possible of the social, economic and/or environmental benefit that was originally anticipated. The judges said the town centre regeneration project was ‘a positive example of a local authority engaging in land acquisition and development to turn around a failing town centre’.
Cllr Ashwell continued: “We stepped in to deliver this scheme ourselves because so many private schemes were failing, both in Wokingham and across the country. We also knew for it to be a long-term success it needed to be right for local residents and businesses, delivering the right balance of development and benefits.
“The schemes will see incredibly high levels of investment in non-profit and community items, one far above the level which any private developer could ever consider. This includes providing a new sports centre, an improved park, a destination play area, and various highways improvements.
“Work has already started at the Carnival Pool site and we’re excited about the schemes coming in the town centre over the next few years.”