Wokingham Town Centre is due to say goodbye to Peach Street’s tired old 1960s façade from Monday February 13, when Wokingham Borough Council’s contractor Dawnus Construction Limited starts final preparations to demolish the affected buildings in March.
The rebuilding of a section of Peach Street (from the former Clintons card shop up to, but not including, the Redan pub) and the creation of Peach Place on the old Rose Street car park are the latest phases of the town’s regeneration to get underway.
This work marks a significant step towards a better town centre that will be packed with big name and independent shops as well as more high quality places to meet, eat and drink.
Wokingham Borough Council’s executive member for planning, regeneration and communities, Cllr Mark Ashwell, said: "The regeneration of our town is really gathering pace and I am looking forward to seeing the back of the old 1960s-style façade at Peach Street. It has been a long and sometimes rocky road to get here and there is a lot of work to do, but getting bulldozers on site at Peach Place will be an exciting milestone.
"And away from the hard hats and hi-vis jackets, we are also working hard to make sure we get the right end result in terms of a good mix of exciting shops and restaurants. We are not quite ready to name names yet, but will be ready for some big announcements soon."
The town centre regeneration is building on Wokingham’s strong existing brand. The town centre is at full capacity, with few or no empty units and fierce competition whenever one does become available. In a recent development, Wokingham Town Business Association (WTBA) was established as an independent group of business and community leaders to promote the town’s interests.
The borough council will be working closely with the WTBA to keep local residents and businesses updated during the regeneration and to look at ways to support the town during the coming months.
Jonathan Holley from WTBA said: "After many years of planning and consultation it is very exciting to see the next phase of work to rejuvenate the town centre get underway. As you know, with gain comes pain and the works will undoubtedly cause some uncertainty whilst familiar routes and façades are demolished. The WTBA asks for the support of the residents and visitors of Wokingham during this time, as we are truly all in this together. We want to work together with you to help Wokingham through this building stage, to keep businesses thriving and help create a town centre we can all be proud of."
What is happening:
- Buildings to be demolished start from the former Clintons unit and go up to, but do not include, the Redan pub (the Redan pub and Haka Chinese restaurant remain open and accessible throughout the works)
- The Peach Street pedestrian footpath adjacent to the development will close from Monday February 13 and will remain closed until construction of the new buildings alongside Peach Street is complete (expected completion is Spring 2018)
- The lane of Peach Street adjacent to the development will close from Monday February 27 and will remain closed until the affected buildings have been demolished and necessary works to services in this location are complete. Work is expected to take 15 weeks with the lane reinstated in June
- No diversion route will be put in place for Peach Street as the road will remain open throughout although reduced to one lane
- Vehicular access through Luckley Path will close on February 27. It is expected this road will remain closed whilst the Peach Street footpath restriction is in place due to the increased number of pedestrians using the southern footpath, however this will be reviewed as the works progress and access reinstated once appropriate. Pedestrian access along Luckley Path will be unaffected
- Pedestrian crossings will remain at Marks and Spencer’s and Market Place with timings reviewed to ensure the most effective flow of pedestrians and vehicles within the town centre
- On road deliveries to Peach Street will not be permitted along the affected section of road and businesses will be told to use the delivery road to the rear of their properties or seek alternative methods. Dawnus (the council’s contractor for the project) continue to work with neighbouring businesses to the site to inform them of impact relating to the Peach Place development
- Approval has also being sought to allow for temporary closure to the Rose Street footpath alongside the site. It is expected the footpath will be closed in sections to reflect the phasing of works. The first closure will begin on February 13 and further details will be published as the details are confirmed
To find out more about the project, key programme dates and useful information (such as where to park in Wokingham) during the works should visit the Regeneration Company website.