The new Elms Field park and play area in the heart of Wokingham town centre has opened, all ready for the summer holidays.
It is a key part of Wokingham Borough Council’s vision for a regenerated Wokingham. Its official opening reflected this with scores of children trying out the equipment. Families who’d brought their children along, as well as representatives from Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham Town Council, cheered when Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Bill Soane cut the ribbon alongside some young helpers.
The park and play area has been designed, paid for and delivered by the borough council to create a green heart in Wokingham town centre; a lovely place for family picnics, playtime and community events.
“I’m incredibly excited Elms Field is open, ready for the summer. Many of the fantastic ideas people suggested have been incorporated into it,” said Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for regeneration at Wokingham Borough Council. “We expect it to become one of the most popular parks in the town. It has lots of space for relaxing, as well as playing and hosting events throughout the year. The past few months have seen many parts of the regeneration coming to fruition, with Market Place finished, Peach Place and Aldi opened, and more retailers and businesses announced.”
Wokingham Town Council will be managing the new open space on a 50-year lease.
“I’m absolutely delighted the new park is ready,” said Cllr Nick Campbell-White, chairman of Wokingham Town Council’s amenities committee. “We were very keen to demonstrate our long-term commitment to managing this area on behalf of all our residents.”
“This is a destination park offering exciting and different opportunities within the town centre itself. Please come and explore this wonderful open space and we look forward to seeing the park host some community events in the future too.”
The play area equipment has been designed with specialist input to ensure Plan Inclusive Play Areas (PiPA) accessible play area standards. Much of its equipment is made from sustainably sourced Robinia wood which gives the park a natural feel and complements both the established and new trees including Elms, English Oaks, Birches and Maples added around the park. Shrubs and wild flower areas have been included to attract wildlife, and wooden carvings made from trunks removed during development will be added during the coming months. The much-loved Market Place memorial bench, donated by Rotary, is now in the park and mosaics like those in the Market Place will be added as other areas of the site are completed.
The play area is fully enclosed for safety but when the new cinema, retail units, Premier Inn Hotel and housing are completed on Elms Field the whole park and play area will still retain a degree of fencing.
The park can be accessed from the south via Wellington Road between Aldi and Earle Crescent, from the north via Biscoe Way and Earle Crescent, and from the Plaza area by Nuffield Health. However, be mindful of construction traffic when coming in via the Plaza area, especially during working hours. With the park now open, pedestrian access is also restored between the town centre, Wellington Road and Wokingham Station.
A few small areas in the park remain roped off to help the wild flower areas establish. General waste and dog waste bins are on site and additional recycling bins will be installed in the coming weeks.