Community space plan for Elms FieldBy Laura Herbert
November 12, 2012
A community champion is calling for more people in Wokingham to organise events on Elms Field once it has been redeveloped.
As part of the town’s £100 million regeneration plans, Elms Field will include a foodstore – featuring a coffee shop, restaurant, bakery and pharmacy – as well as a hotel, shops and restaurants/cafe units.
As well as housing there will also be an open space designed specifically for community events.
Wokingham Borough Council’s executive met last week to formally dispose of the field so work can begin.
Despite strong objection against the disposal of the land, Wokingham Festival organiser Stan Hetherington believes the move will be good news for community events.
Mr Hetherington said: “We will have a lovely open space and it will be available for all types of performances and arts and crafts.
“It is going to have the facilities to make it easy to organise event and they will now have a real sense of inclusion.”
He added: “The events we have in the town tend to be restricted to a small part of Elms Field and when Wokingham Lions holds the May Fayre it is spread out but it involves extra manpower.
“Having the field all in one location will provide the opportunity to hold bigger events and it will make manning and running them much easier.
“I hope other community groups will come forward and run events of their own. It would be wonderful for choirs to hold a performance in that field.
“I would love Wokingham to have an open-air theatre, I think it’s magical. I would also like to expand the open-air cinema and get schools involved.”
Objectors also raised concerns about the ownership of Elms Field once it is disposed but the executive was expected to agree to lease the open space to Wokingham Town Council once the project is finished.
Bernie Pich, the council’s head of regeneration, said: “What we see first of all is a much-improved park as opposed to a field.
“There will be a large events space and we are looking at ways to improve the events, the way they are managed and the number of them.
“We see the whole thing becoming more active and usable.”