Last Thursday (July 20) plans to create a new leisure and community hub for Wokingham town centre took a big step forward as Wokingham Borough Council submitted plans for phase 2 of the Carnival regeneration.
Should it secure planning consent, the proposals would see the existing pool and gym close in late 2019, before being demolished and replaced with a brand new larger leisure centre. There would also be space for a new library, leisure-related commercial units such as a new children’s soft play facility and apartments. The new facility would expect to complete and open in 2021.
Feedback shaped design
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development and regeneration, said: “We had some good feedback from our recent public engagement and have tried to incorporate this into our design. We have included more seating near the pool for parents with children in swim school and made changes to the upper floor layout to make the large studios even more flexible for community events as well as sports. We’ve also strengthened our layout for the main hall to make sure that, when it’s used as a 400 seat performance venue, there are close links to areas for performers to change and relax.
“We also wanted to address some concerns people raised about the loss of the splash pool. Whilst there is no longer a separate splash area in the plans, there would still be lots of opportunity for toddlers and young children to enjoy the pool. We’re proposing to use the space to create a larger teaching pool with a moveable floor which could be made shallow enough for much bigger toddler sessions or made deep enough to teach different ages to swim. The moveable floor also means it could be used to run classes such as Aquafit whilst leaving the main pool free for open swimming.”
The Phase 2 plans have been carefully designed to work with the new Carnival multi-storey car park, which opened in June, and to create a strong pedestrian route across the town centre including a brand new signalised pedestrian crossing on Wellington Road to link the Carnival site to Elms Field and the improved park and play area.
Consultation runs until 15 September
The statutory consultation period has been extended to take into account the summer holidays and that this is part of the council’s regeneration proposals. People have until September 15 to submit their comments. Any comments will be considered by the local planning authority in assessing the plans.
The full set of planning application documents are available to view electronically on the planning webpages by searching for planning application number 172012 or in hard copy at Planning Desk (Second Floor) at the council’s Shute End offices.
Copies of key documents and plans have also been placed in the Mall Gallery at the Civic Offices, Wokingham Library, Carnival Pool Leisure Centre and the Wokingham Town Hall Information Centre.
Comments can be submitted via the website or in writing to the Local Planning Authority at P.O. Box 157, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 1WR. Feedback forms will be available at all locations named above.
The proposals are expected to be considered by the planning committee later this year.