Peach Place green light expected tonightBy Laura Herbert
November 14, 2012
Major plans to revamp the town centre are expected to be given the go-ahead tonight as details about how the multi-million pound scheme is funded are revealed.
The regeneration of the town centre will take another leap forward as members of Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee are due to approve plans to revamp Peach Place.
The plans, put forward by the council and Wilson Bowden Developments, include refurbishing a number of units – currently home to Boots, John Wood Sport, Clarks, flats and offices – re-facing the elevations in Rose Street and Market Place and converting offices on the second and third floors into four flats.
The application is the first step of the regeneration in the town centre, but the whole scheme is expected to cost in excess of £100 million.
The project is funded by borrowing, which will be offset by returns on the sale of new homes and commercial income.
Regeneration bosses have agreed to pre-let conditions to protect the taxpayers’ investments, meaning building the commercial sections of the plans won’t start until enough guaranteed tenants have been secured to cover the cost of the build.
Councillor Alistair Corrie, executive member for regeneration and affordable housing, said: “Wokingham Borough Council and our partners will be investing around £85 million into the regeneration of Wokingham town centre; the value of the scheme on completion will be in excess of £100 million.
“As the council retains control of the scheme, it will generate a good rate of return over and above the £85 million initial investment, ensuring we can continue to improve services and invest in the community over the long-term.”
He added: “The delivery of any project of this nature and scale is complex and takes time to put together the expertise, finances, permissions and other key components. The commitment of all those involved in working together to bring these proposals forward has been extremely encouraging and will secure a bright future for the town centre itself.
“Doing nothing in the town centre is not an option; at the heart of all this, we want to secure a vibrant future for Wokingham town centre. We want a town centre that doesn’t simply survive, but thrives, over the next 30 years.
“This is an ambitious project and one that we are committed to delivering. We have come a long way over the past four years and appreciate that many local people want us to start delivering now.”
The planning committee will consider the Peach Place plans at the civic offices, in Shute End, from 7pm.