Wokingham Borough Council’s ambitious regeneration plans to create a great future for Wokingham town centre are moving forward rapidly, as preparations continue to start work on Elms Field in mid March.
The plans will see a great new location created with improved shopping, restaurants, leisure facilities and homes, alongside an improved landscaped park and destination play area.
Work will also include the creation of a new through road linking Wellington Road through to Shute End. The Elms Field project has been designed to complement the other regeneration phases at Peach Place and the Carnival site. Early pre-lets for Elms Field include an Everyman boutique cinema, Premier Inn hotel and Aldi foodstore.
On Monday 19 March, work takes a major step forward as the council formally hands over the site to its contractor McLaughlin & Harvey.
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development and regeneration, said: “Starting on site at Elms Field is a real landmark for Wokingham’s future as we move forward with creating great facilities across the town centre. I’d like to thank residents for their patience whilst we’ve been carrying out the preparation works and hope they continue to support us over the coming months.
"Our contractor, McLaughlin & Harvey, has worked hard to minimise the impact of these initial works and will continue to do this during the wider development. We’re liaising closely with the team carrying out the Market Place works to ensure work is co-ordinated carefully.”
As part of this handover the council will fence off the remaining open spaces and play area and the Wellington House car parks, from 19 March, so construction work can be carried out safely. The council will also close the Paddocks car parks from midnight on Saturday 24 March. A pedestrian route will be maintained through the Paddocks area whilst the works take place to ensure easy access to Shute End from Elms Road.
Season ticket and permit holders should contact the council’s car parks team to discuss a refund or alternative locations. Blue badge parking spaces are available in all other council town centre car parks.
Cllr Munro continued: “We opened the brand new Carnival multi-storey car park last June to ensure there was plenty of replacement parking spaces available for when the Paddocks and Wellington House car parks closed. There’s more than 1,400 spaces within the town centre and people can find out more on our website where we have created a handy sheet showing the different locations and other useful information.
“People can also find out more about alternative play area and park locations by using the ‘Find My Nearest‘ search tool on the council’s website. There are some fantastic parks within just a few minutes walk of Elms Field, such as Howard Palmer Park which is a wonderful place to relax in, or Langborough Recreation ground with its playground.”
Paul McLaughlin, operations director from McLaughlin & Harvey, said: “McLaughlin & Harvey is delighted to be awarded this prestigious project and look forward to working with Wokingham Borough Council, their stakeholders and the local community towards a successful scheme delivery.”
Work at Elms Field will be completed in phases from the end of 2019 through to 2020. The new park, play area and reconfigured Paddocks car park will reopen when the Elms Field work completes in 2020.