2013 big year for Bracknell regenerationBy Becky Barnes
January 03, 2013
The year 2013 will be a big one for the regeneration according to town centre planners as they prepare for the next stages of development.
The Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (BRP) team, which introduced a phased regeneration in 2012 to accelerate the scheme, say last year was when plans began to take shape, but promise more this year with an exhibition of the proposals later this month.
Cllr Marc Brunel Walker, executive member for economic development and regeneration at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “Last year was a very exciting year for the town centre regeneration scheme with Marks & Spencer and Cineworld making a commitment to the new town centre.
“The council has been working hard behind the scenes with BRP and I know 2013 will be even bigger with more announcements from retailers and the regeneration scheme moving further forward.”
Poundworld is the latest retailer which will move in to Princess Square imminently and shops in the area being demolished have been handed compulsory purchase orders, meaning their leases will terminate in June.
As shops and businesses vacate their premises, a survey from the Local Data Company revealed the percentage of empty shops in the town in September 2012 was 22.6 per cent, up 3.2 per cent from 2011 and the highest in Berkshire.
Helen Barnett, marketing manager at BRP, said: “We are going to be flattening half of our town – we have to make some of the town empty so we can go ahead with the regeneration.”
“These figures are not accurate and are not actually reflective of what is happening in the town.
“Before Christmas, Charles Square was fully let and Princess Square nearly all let
“Some we still get rent for and we can’t relet because we haven’t got the leases back, although some we could let them three times over.”
Plans for the phased regeneration will be unveiled to the public at an exhibition at Princess Square on Friday, January 18, and Saturday, January 19.
Helen added: “The exhibition of plans will give everyone the chance to see what the phased regeneration will mean to the town centre.
“Following the public consultation, these plans will be submitted to the council as the next stage in the regeneration process.”
People are being urged to come to the exhibition and have their say.
Graham Oakley, manager of Waitrose, Bond Way, which has just celebrated trading for a year, said: “In what has undoubtedly been a challenging year for businesses, it’s encouraging to hear about all the new
investment that is going to be made in the town.
“As the regeneration continues, we believe there is a massive opportunity to ensure Bracknell remains a real shopping destination in the future and we are confident that both ourselves and the town’s others traders will be able to build on theirexisting trade."