The councillor in charge of regeneration of Wokingham disputes claims that works across the town centre have caused chaos.
At a meeting of Wokingham Borough Council on March 22, Cllr Stuart Munro, the executive member for business and economic development, made the comments while answering a question from member of the public Helen Power, who wanted to know why work on Elms Field had started before Peach Place and Market Place had been finished.
“Officers and members of this council … are working hard together to ensure delivery is well planned and coordinated,” he said.
“Projects of this scale are complex and it is not possible to deliver work like this without some disruption, but I challenge the accusation that it is chaos.”
“I think there is no doubt that significant change is happening in Wokingham. The Council has embarked on an ambitious regeneration programme delivering the town centre masterplan and vision and the facilities that our residents and businesses deserve.
“We recognise that this has not been an easy time for the town but, can now see with the Broad Street section opening tomorrow, these projects are delivering high quality spaces for Wokingham.
Cllr Munro’s answer also included: “Discussions have also shown that there are significant benefits to running these projects concurrently rather than consecutively. Traffic and impacts can be carefully managed together and it reduces the overall time taken to complete the works by several years.
“An example of this will be when we will be able to phase works at Elms Field to benefit from the significant reduction in traffic using the lower part of Denmark Street so we are not doing it again and again– far better than waiting for completion of one then to start and then start another.
“Rather than discouraging companies from coming to Wokingham this work has shown commitment from the Council to creating a fantastic town centre and is echoed by the strong interest from businesses, both national and independent, in taking units across the town centre and a briefing I had today showed that, that is increasing at a rate.
“So in conclusion I think regeneration on this scale is ambitious, but I think being ambitious is something a great local Council should be.”