£750M PLAN TO REGENERATE TOWN INTO A BUZZING, VIBRANT CENTRE
December 01, 2004
The glittering £750 million plan was put forward by landowners the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (BRP) last week showing how Bracknell will be turned into a buzzing centre of shops, homes and leisure facilities.
At the centre of the plan is the Bracknell Eye — a three storey covered square full of shops, cafes and bars which will run from Easthampstead House to the Broadway and form the central focus of the regeneration.
As part of the regeneration commuters travelling to the town would catch a bus from a new bus station next to the Red Lion pub to make transport links more central.
The current bus station would be transformed into a green civic space with new council offices, homes, a hotel, and a big new library, while the police station and magistrates court would also be moved to a new home in Market Street.
The plan now has to be agreed by Bracknell Forest Borough Council and then put before the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) before it can be built.
David Gregory, development manager for BRP, said: "The aim of the regeneration scheme is to completely transform Bracknell town centre ensuring a vibrant future for the town.
"Our proposed development will bring local people back to Bracknell to shop, but it's more than just a shopping centre.
"The town centre will provide a host of new uses, with more than 1,000 homes, leisure facilities including hotels, new public buildings, improved car parking and public transport and high quality landscaped public realms."
Architects have said the plan will not get rid of all the buildings in the town centre, unlike previous plans, but will instead look to weave old and new buildings together to make a "dynamic mixture" of architecture.
Master Architect Mike Davies from the Richard Rogers Partnership said the new town centre would be like a "Turkish weaved carpet" bringing the old and new together.
He said: "It's not a case of
let's blow everything up and rebuild from scratch. We are going to keep a lot of the existing buildings and weave them in.
"Hopefully that will encourage other companies to look at the outside of their buildings and modernise."
The plan, which has been developed over the last two years, has been taken from a council masterplan adopted in 2002 after a public consultation asked what Bracknell residents wanted in their town.
Mr Davies said: "The plan is really about giving the people of Bracknell what they asked for. The things that people have asked for are in this plan.
"We have even asked children at Binfield Primary School what they wanted to see in their town centre to get the input of the future generation."
Building work will start on the new centre in 2006 if permission is granted from the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) next spring.
Senior council officials have said they are confident the plan will go through this time and will not be thrown out like previous plans, submitted in the late 1990s, which
were slammed for being ‘too big' and ‘damaging to nearby towns'.
Vincent Nicholls, head of strategy at the council, said: "We are very confident this is going to go through.
"We have had in-depth consultations and addressed problem areas highlighted in other plans."
Mr Nicholls said the plan was only half the size of the last one and they had discussed it with neighbouring Wokingham District Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead who had offered support.
The plans are due before the borough's planning committee early next year before being put before GOSE. If the latter objects, the plan will then go to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for a final decision.
Assuming that the plans are approved, work will begin in 2006 and major construction will be finished by 2008 although the centre will not be completed by 2010.
Anyone who wants to view the plan can visit a display at 30 Charles Square, which will run until Sunday, December 18.
Comments can be made by calling Helen Barnett at the BRP on (01344) 350080.