A busy year at Elms Field
Wednesday 20th March, 2019
This Tuesday (March 19) marks a year to the day since contractors McLaughlin & Harvey started work on the council’s exciting Elms Field proposals.
Progress has been good and later this summer residents will be able to shop in the Aldi supermarket, and enjoy some family fun in the great new play area and park. Visitors will also be able stay in the 95-room Premier Inn hotel, which is also due to open by the autumn.
The latest milestone will be reached with the opening of the new roads Biscoe Way and Earle Crescent to create access to Elms Road from Shute End. At the moment the western section of Earle Crescent will remain shut while WBC’s partners, David Wilson Homes, who are due to start on site soon, build the new houses around the park. Once all the houses are completed Earle Crescent will open up completely creating a new link from Wellington Road to Shute End via Biscoe Way. This will help local traffic by offering an alternative route for when there are issues further down Wellington Road or at the station.
Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for regeneration, said: “It’s amazing to see how much has been achieved in the last year with some areas already completed and others on target to open up in phases from this summer through to early next year as planned.
“At the beginning of March Aldi took ownership of their new foodstore which is expected to open in June this year. Recruitment is also underway and I’m very pleased to see new jobs coming to the town centre. This was always one of our core objectives for regeneration which is set to see over 550 additional new jobs created across the projects.
“It’s also great to see a cinema returning to the town centre after so many years’ absence and Everyman are a fantastic boutique chain with a real emphasis on the cinematic experience and a wider cultural offer which will fit into Wokingham very well.”
The opening of the new roads will allow contractors, McLaughlin & Harvey, to start transforming the lower section of Elms Road into grassed open space ready for the summer. Works in the park also include the creation of a brand new destination play area, which has been designed with feedback from Plan Inclusive Play (PiPA) as the council wanted to make sure it achieves the PiPA status which sets the benchmark for inclusive play areas across the country.
The designs have also been amended to accommodate suggestions from local families during the 2016 consultation. These include incorporating a new carousel swing unit, bigger trampoline, and working with a local tree carver to create some exciting pieces like sculptures, climbing logs and feature benches from trunks retained during the early works.
Alongside the landscaping works the borough council is in the final stages of agreeing a lease to Wokingham Town Council who, as with the other town centre parks, is set to take on management of the park for the longer term.