WORK to refurbish the frontages of buildings in the Peach Place development is due to start this week.
This week, the regeneration work will come out from behind the hoardings as work begins on scaffolding the frontages of the buildings being refurbished, starting at the top of Rose Street and moving down to Market Place.
The affected buildings will be covered in scaffolding and protective screening to minimise the disruption to businesses and shoppers. The frontages will then be removed and replaces with new façades, including new windows and render.
The Rose Street work will also see the building extended with a new corner unit, helping mark the entrance to the Peach Place square with its new restaurants, shops and public toilets, which will be opened as part of the development at Christmas 2018.
The new frontages have been designed to improve the appearance of the old buildings and to ensure they can sit alongside the new buildings effectively.
Scaffolding works started on Friday, August 25 and will continue this week. Work to the front of Costa and Superdrug is expected to be completed by early December, at which point the scaffolding will be removed.
Rose Street works, including the extension of the building, are expected to be completed by May 2018. However, following the initial demolition works new scaffolding will be installed to reopen the adjacent footpath later this year.
Cllr Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development and regeneration, said: “Whilst we know the new development is going to be a fantastic for Wokingham town centre, it’s important that we can keep the town trading as we build the new square and shops.
“All four businesses affected are great assets for Wokingham so we wanted to make sure they could keep trading throughout the works.
“With this in mind we’re using the same approach as when we refurbished the Clarks and Boots buildings in 2014. We are carefully scaffolding the Market Place façades above Costa Coffee and Superdrug whilst maintaining access to their stores to ensure it’s business as usual at all times.
“Proposals on Rose Street are more extensive and required both shops to be empty before work could start. However, both businesses were keen to remain in Wokingham and the council worked closely with them to find them new homes within the town centre. J Strange Jewellers has moved to a fantastic new store in Bush Walk and Boots Opticians to Market Place.
“There’s lots going on in Wokingham at the moment and the town is changing on
a weekly basis. We’ve installed new viewing panels at the end of Bush Walk which give a really interesting viewpoint of the development and allow people to see the new square takes shape.
“Whilst we appreciate there is disruption to the town, it is very much still open for business. There’s plenty of parking in the town, including the brand new Carnival multi-storey car park, with a pay on exit system allowing people to stay as long as they like.
“Even with the works going on there are still lots of things for people to do in Wokingham with a great range of shops, especially independent ones, and restaurants. And don’t forget the Market has moved to The Plaza by Argos and the Brown Bag. We encourage people to support it as well as all the other businesses in town.”