This week (w/c 29 January) people will start to see lots happening around Elms Field as the preparations ramp up ready for Wokingham Borough Council’s contractor, McLaughlin & Harvey, to start construction in mid-March.
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development and regeneration said: “It’s exciting to be breaking ground on this major project which will create a fantastic new location for Wokingham. There will be new shops and restaurants, an Everyman cinema, Aldi, Premier Inn, and new homes all focussed around a fantastic landscaped town centre park with a destination play area and lots of space for events such as the Winter Carnival and May Fayre.”
The council secured planning permission for the Elms Field development in April 2016 and since then has been carrying out detailed design work alongside procuring a main contractor for the redevelopment.
Cllr Munro continued: “Since we started our pre-construction works last September we’ve been carrying out a variety of detailed surveys and studies across the site. From the end of January, these works will become more visible as we undertake ground investigations including archaeological investigations, as well as utilities, tree works and fencing.
“The majority of this work is contained within the site boundaries so should have limited impact on the surrounding roads and businesses. However, due to the nature of the works there may be a requirement to close off areas of the park and some spaces within the car parks to allow work to be carried out safely and for equipment to be stored. There may also be a requirement to close off sections of the footpath or highway immediately adjacent to any works but this will be kept to a minimum and carefully managed to minimise impact as much as possible.”
A more detailed programme with information such as when the Wellington House and Paddock car parks will shut and how the works will be phased will be released shortly.
Work on the Elms Field phase of the town centre regeneration is expected to complete in phases, with the first phase being complete at the end of 2019 with work carrying on through to 2020.
The regeneration is set to benefit residents by providing a great range of new facilities, creating around 350 new construction and 550 new permanent jobs in the shops and restaurants, and securing income for the council, which can be used to fund services and projects across the borough.