PLANS TO turn a car park in Wokingham town centre into almost 80 flats by 2022 have been submitted to Wokingham Borough Council.
The Wokingham Paper revealed the proposals in February, which would see the privately-owned part of the Denmark Street car park converted into a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom flats.
Three existing buildings are also affected: Seymour House and 3 and 4 The Courtyard, home to the former Wokingham Police Station, which has remained empty since its closure.
Now a formal planning application has been submitted and residents have until Wednesday, April 24 to add their comments on the scheme.
It proposes not just to demolish the existing buildings, and construct 36 one-bed flats, 38 two-bed flats and three three-bed flats. There would also be basement car parking, plus 10 car parking spaces.
The developers, Amersham-based Lunar Office Sarl, are also promising new hard and soft landscaped amenity areas.
Although there are fears that the development, should it be approved, would lead to more congestion on a town centre bottleneck, a transport survey suggested that any new residents would be able to commute using public transport or cycling.
The assessment states: “In summary, the Site is highly accessible by a range of non-car transport modes and is very well located in terms of access to Wokingham centre and its facilities. Its location provides genuine mode choice and an ability to travel and live car-free.”
To help aid this, Lunar Office Sarl say they will offer confident cycling training sessions and negotiate discounts for residents with local retailers.
But the scheme has not met with much approval from residents.
In recent weeks, the letters page of The Wokingham Paper has been full of people criticising the ideas and local leaders are also baffled by the idea.
Dave Davies, who is leader of Wokingham Town Council, said: “I am disappointed that this application has been brought forward without appropriate consultation, and strongly oppose its approval.
“It proposes building on vital car parking in centre of the town at a totally inappropriate density, adding cars to already overstretched roads and infrastructure.
“I am not blindly against building but am utterly against the building of the wrong type in the wrong place as in this case.”
And a spokesperson for The Wokingham Society said: “Our Executive Committee will be looking hard at this application and are likely to object to it on grounds of loss of central Wokingham parking provision, excessive traffic generation from a single access and exit road, a site not identified by the Borough Council for housing development, over-development, and lack of provision for affordable homes.”
The application can be seen by logging on to planning.wokingham.gov.uk and searching for application ‘190739’.