Next step forward for Wokingham regeneration
Tuesday 9th December, 2014
Wokingham Borough Council's plans for regenerating Wokingham town centre have taken a huge step forward with the submission of the planning application for the redevelopment of Peach Place.
This phase of the regeneration includes the demolition of the Peach Street buildings between Costa Coffee and the Redan.
The demolished buildings would be replaced by new retail units with apartments
above; a new pedestrianised public square created; new toilets, plus an
improved streetscape on Rose Street with four new houses to replace the brick
Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for regeneration and communities, said: "We've spent the last month out and about meeting local residents, businesses and organisations, previewing our plans and the feedback has been really positive. People can really see how we've changed the plans in response to the comments they made last year including things like introducing different rooflines, increased architectural detailing and retaining the Redan, Haka and Marks and Spencer buildings.
"This scheme is all about helping us get the right balance of retail in the town and improving the visitor experience. Wokingham is crying out for a greater variety and improved mix of shops which will encourage people to come here. We also need new spaces, away from traffic, where people can relax and we can hold more of the events which help Wokingham stand out from other locations. These proposals help us move towards creating the town centre our new and existing residents deserve.
"Now the planning application has been submitted, people will have the opportunity to view the proposals and submit their comments to the local planning authority as part of the statutory consultation process. To take into account the Christmas period the planning authority has also agreed to extend the consultation far beyond the normal four-week consultation period. People will have until January 30, 2015 to submit any comments about the scheme.
"We are also making it easier to see the proposals and, in addition to the full suite of application documents on view at the Shute End planning reception and online, we are also putting copies of key documents in Shute End reception, Wokingham Library and at the Town Hall where they can be viewed during normal opening hours. As a major application there are lots of documents to support the application, some of which are very technical. If you want to get a real grasp of what we're proposing and why, I would recommend reading the design and access statement and the planning statement which provide an excellent overview of the scheme."
The planning application can be viewed by searching for planning application F/2014/2637 on the council website at www.wokingham.gov.uk/planning/services/search/
Following the end of the statutory consultation process, the local planning authority will continue to review the proposals in light of the comments and it is expected the application will be considered by the planning committee in spring 2015. Should consent be granted, it is expected that work will start in late 2016 and be completed in 2018.
Subject to gaining approval, the council will be looking to work with local people on the next steps of designing the scheme, including looking at things in detail such as the landscaping for the public square, how public art could be incorporated into the scheme, and creating a design guide for new retailers to ensure their shop fronts look appropriate for Wokingham. Local residents will also be asked to help create a name for the new square and the development, which will replace the working title of Peach Place.