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Funding boost for Market Place improvements

Funding boost for Market Place improvements

17 September 2015

An environmental project to improve Wokingham town centre’s Market Place could get a funding boost following Wokingham Borough Council’s decision making executive (24 September) and Wokingham Town Council’s (22 September) meetings next week.


The scheme, involving both the borough and town councils, will make improvements to the public space around the Victorian town hall which is widely regarded as the hub of the community.


Work will focus on creating a high quality space providing improved facilities for the market, and for surrounding businesses and the increasing numbers of community events.


Consideration will be given to the surface materials, existing street furniture and the bus lane around the town hall.


No major traffic or parking changes are envisaged as the overall aim is to increase footfall into the town centre and invigorate trade.


Wokingham Borough Council’s executive members are being recommended to agree the release of up to £1.5million developers’ funding matching an equivalent amount from the town council. This will cover feasibility costs, public consultation and carrying out the improvements.


“It’s all very well revitalising large swathes of our town centre in our major regeneration scheme, but this would be pointless if the heart of the town – the Market Place – isn’t also redesigned and opened up to its full potential,” said Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for planning and highways.


“Our regeneration project and this scheme complement each other.”


A topological survey of Market Place has started, overnight for 14 days, looking at Peach Street, Denmark Street and across the square, and public consultation and engagement workshops are being planned for November.


The results of all this will help shape the scope and design of the improvements.


Cllr Martin Bishop, leader of Wokingham Town Council, said: “Improvements to the Market Place have long been the ambition of the town council whose aim is always to make the town vibrant and increase the footfall for all our businesses.


“We’re delighted to be working with Wokingham Borough Council and are confident this project will provide the whole town with a wonderful civic space, which can be used and enjoyed for many years to come.”


It is hoped this scheme will be completed before the end of 2016 so it does not coincide with the borough council’s Peach Street regeneration project.


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