Preparations for the regeneration of Elms Field are continuing with contractors undertaking tree works on the site.
McLaughlin & Harvey, Wokingham Borough Council’s main contractor, is carrying out a range of works over the next month, including setting up fencing to protect the retained trees during development, pruning and maintenance works and removal of trees affected by the initial phases of the development.
Great new town park
This work is part of the Elms Field regeneration scheme that will bring a great new town park, destination play area, public events space, shops and a cinema to Wokingham.
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development and regeneration, said: “Whilst we recognise this work is sensitive and will upset some people, the Elms Field project is important for Wokingham. We need to deliver the facilities our town needs to thrive over the coming years and will keep people coming back to Wokingham.
“I also want to reassure people that a large open space and play area remains at the heart of the Elms Field scheme. We’ve put a huge amount of time into coming up with great designs that will create a fantastic town centre park with lots of grassed areas, attractive planting and plenty of seating for people to relax in the space. There’s also a bigger and better destination play area for families and lots of features to support local fayres and events with reinforced paths, water and power integrated onto the site”
Since securing planning consent for Elms Field, the borough council has continued with the detailed design process including identifying additional trees for retention and carrying out public consultation on the proposals for the new play area with lots of exciting equipment and a new sensory area with special planting and activities.
Additional work has also gone into ensuring the landscaping and planting strategy improves bio-diversity across the site. It incorporates a range of initiatives such as bird and bat nesting boxes, hedgehog boxes and planting specially selected for improved bird feeding and to support invertebrates.
Some of the trees felled during this stage of the development will be stored safely during the works and the tree trunks reused as part of the new park.
McLaughlin & Harvey’s operations director Paul McLaughlin commented: “We are delighted to be making progress with the works on-site. Our first activities include securing the site boundary and tree felling. Much effort has been put into minimising the extent of the works and developing an approach to maintain access as long as possible during the initial works.”
The lower Wellington House car park will be closed during these works as it will be used as a site compound for contractors working on the site, however the upper Wellington House car park will remain open for the present until required for redevelopment.
Tree works will continue throughout February in advance of the bird-nesting season which starts in March. Main construction will commence in mid-March once preparatory works are complete.
Work on Elms Field is expected to complete in phases from the end of 2019 through to 2020.