We continue to move forward with our ideas for regenerating Wokingham, including Elms Field, a revamped Peach Place with better residential and retail offers, as well as an improved leisure area and facilities at the Carnival Pool site.
Informing the plans
Wokingham Borough Council ran a public consultation for four weeks in March 2015 to find out from residents how they would like to see the area developed.
The council did not consult on the principle of developing on the Elms Field site but was keen to get a better understanding of the local community’s views and ideas on the types of shops and leisure needed, the town park and site layout. The plans were deliberately not as detailed as the previous scheme because the council wanted everyone to have a greater say over the shape of the final designs, what it should look like, and how the new public spaces could be used.
The consultation closed on April 2nd and the Council have used this feedback, along with comments made by retailers interested in coming to Wokingham and existing businesses to help shape the final designs.
Planning Application and Consent
At the end of November 2015 the Council submitted a new planning application for Elms Field.
The Council has listened carefully to suggestions made by local people and businesses and the new proposals address the following key points
- A large high quality park
- Retain as many of the existing trees as possible
- A large play area
- Limit the scale of development
- Bring a greater variety of retailers back to the town
- Ensure the town is not just about shopping
- Provide adequate parking for shoppers, new residents and visitors to Wokingham
The scheme includes a range of things such as new shops, a boutique cinema, a hotel, a medium sized food store, new homes and a fantastic town park and play area. The proposals also include parking, moving the existing Elms Road to the edge of the park rather than running through it, and a new route creating a link between Wellington Road and Shute End.
You can find out more about the scheme in our Elms Field 2015 summary leaflet.
The submission of the plans was followed by the statutory planning consultation period which was extended until the end of January 2016 to take into account the Christmas period.
The application was considered by Wokingham Borough Council's planning committee in March 2016. Planning Consent was granted on April 6 2016. Work is expected to start on site in 2017 and be completed from 2020.
Linking the regeneration of Wokingham
The regeneration of Peach Place, the Carnival Pool and Elms Field are intrinsically linked and it is critical for the town's success that the three sites continue to be so.
By managing these projects directly the Council can ensure the sites are developed in a coordinated fashion, bringing the greatest benefit to Wokingham and its current and future residents.
The regeneration proposals for Elms Field are a direct response to the Council's Masterplan SPD which identified the need to develop this location so that it provides the better mix and range of shops that the town centre needs to survive, as well as the opportunities for creating a much improved park and leisure facilities.
Detailed design process
Having secured planning consent for the scheme the Council has been carrying out further detailed design work and continues to engage with local people on the proposals.
The council recently ran a public engagement on the designs for the new play area and feedback is being used to help finalise designs. You can find out more about the proposals and download the plans and a handout on the Engagement page of the website.
Keep an eye out here on the website for further opportunities to get involved or sign up to receive our Regeneration Update Emails to find out more.
Surveys and preparation works
In the run up to work starting on site in 2017 there will be a handful of further site investigations taking place, such as checking of boreholes from early surveys. These works are minor and are unlikely to impact upon users.
A detailed programme of works will be provided in the coming months.