Wokingham Borough Council is sorry to inform residents that the Market Place Improvement project will not now be completed until mid-August.
The project, which is bringing a high-quality look to Wokingham town centre with York Stone finish across a large, pedestrianised market place, has overrun due to severe problems uncovered beneath the old road and pavements. The council’s contractor Balfour Beatty has had to rectify significant problems with pipe works and old carriageways and pavement lines before being able to lay the new paving. The end date for the whole project is now set for August 18/19.
The section of Denmark Street from Langborough Road to the Carnival roundabout should reopen sooner, which will also allow the restrictions on Langborough Road to be lifted. The target date for this remains July 27 but this is dependent on SSE completing its work at the bottom of Denmark Street.
Wokingham Borough Council will be commissioning an independent review of the project once it is complete. Full details have not been set but the review will look at the full scope of the project.
Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for town centre regeneration said: “We are truly sorry for the overrun and understand and share the frustrations of residents and businesses. We always aim to be a learning organisation and that is why I have called for a review of this project. But we have always maintained that this project must be of high quality and so we will not cut corners to save time at this stage.
“There are more and more areas of Market Place are emerging and it does look tremendous. Between now and the August end date, people will see more and more of the town centre opened up and I hope people will be able to come and enjoy the new appearance before the final end date.”
The improvement project is transforming Market Place into an attractive continental-style space with café tables, market stalls, attractive trees and stylish paving designed for all. The joint borough and town council project is replacing the poor quality, root damaged paving, cluttered street scene and inconvenient bus lane with a smart, new look that is pedestrian-friendly and perfect to support a flourishing market, successful shops and bustling outdoor living.
The work is part of the long-term vision to safeguard the future of the town through investment and regeneration that will allow it to flourish and to bring in income for the borough as a whole. The York Stone paving will be deep cleaned and sealed to prevent staining once the project is complete in order to ensure the high-quality look will last.
Cllr Mirfin said: “This work is part of a vision for Wokingham town that will, in the long-term, bring more people in to the centre to enjoy its shops, cafes, events and other activities. We stand by this vision and know it is the right thing for the town’s future. But we also know that, for many people, it is the here and now that is difficult and we can only ask for patience until the work is complete. ”
Wokingham Town Council is producing regular updates and a newsletter about the project and, anybody who wants to sign up to receive these please contact Wokingham Town Clerk Jan Nowecki on (0118) 978 3185 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org