Visitors to Wokingham town centre have started to see real changes now that the Peach Place demolition works are almost completed, with the 1960s parade of shops removed and work started to remove the last properties adjacent to the Redan public house.
The demolition work is being carried out to make way for the new Peach Place development which will create a fantastic new pedestrianised square in the town centre, surrounded by a range of new shops and restaurants for local shoppers.
Bernie Pich, head of regeneration at Wokingham Borough Council, said: "It's been really interesting visiting the site at different times since work started in January this year. A huge amount of work went into getting the buildings ready to demolish, including disconnecting the services, stripping out the insides of the buildings and carefully removing any traces of asbestos.
"After the single lane of Peach Street closed at the end of February, things really started to ramp up with scaffolding and netting going up to protect the high street from dust and debris in mid-March. We then started major demolition on March 22. A month later the site is virtually cleared giving people an idea of how big the area is and what a great location for a new pedestrianised square it will be. We’ve also added vision panels to the hoardings at the end of Bush Walk so people can come along and have a closer look at what’s happening on site as we begin to move forward with building the new square.
"The new Peach Place is going to be a fantastic destination for the town centre. There’s space for people to relax whilst out shopping in one of the new boutique stores, or for them to grab some lunch whilst sitting outside one of the new restaurants. It’s also going to be an ideal venue for local events, markets and entertainment, for which Wokingham is so well known."
Richard Nixon, operations manager at Dawnus Construction Limited, said: "Work to remove the main buildings has gone very smoothly but it does not stop there. Over the next couple of months people will continue to see lots of activity on site as we carry out the more complex party wall demolition and works on the adjacent properties. We’ve also got lots of work to do on drainage and services like water and electrics, further archaeological studies and then will start work on the foundations for the new buildings.
"Working on such a central site we’ve been very aware of how we impact on the people still shopping, visiting and working in Wokingham and have been working hard to minimise disruption. We’ve made sure to fix our hoardings so the Rose Street footpath can remain open alongside the site."
People can keep up- to-date with progress on site and the latest programme dates on the regeneration website.