The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham’s regeneration works have not caused chaos – councillor

Traffic backs up in Wokingham Hospital, unable to get on to Barkham Road due to congested roads. Photo: Phil Creighton
Traffic backs up in Wokingham Hospital, unable to get on to Barkham Road due to congested roads. Photo: Phil Creighton

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.”

He added:

“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.”

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This councilor is living in “Cloud Cucoo Land” He obviously has not spoken with the Wokingham Business owners who have seen trade decimated. Has he spoken to Wokingham pedestrians who have to walk great distances to get from one shop to another? What about motorists driving through the town who are experiencing long delays. The Market place has been a disater and everyone knows it with the exception of this arrogant Conservative Council. Please remember who created this mess at election time

Michel van Nierop

If ever there was an example of a Councillor being totally out of touch with reality then this must be it. Can’t wait for the next installment from Hans Christian Munro, the teller of fairy tales from the land of make believe !

Anthony Clark

I do not know who you are kidding, Most of the people I speak too are sick of what is going on and the general feeling is that The Council are ruining what was a nice market town. Call it progress, well let us just see who will occupy these new over large shops. Not a good sign that Marks and Spencer pulled out. Many of the other local business have been and are still suffering badly due to the situation in the town. I was in town yesterday with some other local friends and they all plainly consider the situation as disgusting. So who are you kidding WBC. Time will tell, let us just hope that you are right and most of the residents and others coming, or are trying to get into the town are wrong. However, for your information there are many very disenchanted people of all ages in the town and that is putting it politely. So I and many others seriously wonder who and where are all the thrilled and excited residents and visitors who are happy.Many of us just wonder what planet those responsible for the redevelopment are from.

David Roland

It would seem that Councillor Munro’s (and the WBC’s?) understanding of the word “chaos” differs “just slightly” from the people of Wokingham.


The issue is that we are just getting our first taste of the greater chaos to come as more and more houses are built and more traffic hits an already strained transport network. Add in to that the issues that we are seeing with aged water and gas pipes (for example) and we are not looking at a very attractive future. The council may well be ambitious, but that does not mean that they are capable or competent to manage the scale of the change underway. We can see that developers are much better at playing the system, land-banking is rife within the borough, small in-fill developments are making a mockery of local plans. Wokingham Borough is showing all the signs of becoming a future case study on how regeneration and rapid development can go horribly wrong. It is very sad to see and it is painful to witness. Anyone who has to commute to work now faces terrible delays and frustration on a regular basis; this is bad for both the environment and peoples quality of life. Social and medical services are not increasing in line with population growth. Policing is being reduced and with an influx on new population this is creating the perfect situation for crime, making people feel less safe on the streets and in their own homes. We have a council and an MP whose ambitions do not match those of the very people that that are supposed to represent. Role on the elections and I hope that all of those who are unhappy actually turnout and vote, the time for apathy is long past.

Anthony Clark

Well written Kate, the current situation and the way it is all happening in the town is very disturbing in every way. I for one wished I had left the town before all this so call re-generation is going on. I have just added my own comment prior to reading your. I agree with your comments all round. Best Regards. Anthony

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