Wokingham Town Council, in collaboration with the Borough Council, will be undertaking a full-scale refurbishment of the Market Place around the Town Hall.
The access road round the Town Hall will disappear, the buses that used it having already been re-routed. This will allow the whole area to be re-paved, providing a larger open space for pedestrians and the market stalls.
Wokingham Society representatives have been involved in various workshops about this initiative, and the design of the local roads and pedestrian provision.
Test holes were drilled in January 2017 to physically confirm the very detailed scanning that has already taken place which showed a ‘spaghetti junction’ of services and utilities beneath the surface. This pre-construction activity informed the exact nature of the work needed, the timescales and the full costs involved to be considered by both councils.
Work started in the Summer of 2017 and has involved full or partial closure of roads in the vicinity, as well as circuitous access to premises in the Market Place while the pavements were dug up in order to lay new services.
The complexity of services and tree roots found underground considerably extended the time taken to carry out the work, meaning that Denmark Street remained closed and the stretch of road between Peach Street and Broad Street was sealed off for long periods much longer than intended. The work was completed in September 2018 but, following widespread concern about identifying parking bays, delineating kerb edges (particularly for visually handicapped pedestrians) and unsightly tyre marks left by vehicles intruding on the paved areas, the Borough Council commissioned a review to determine what improvements can be made. The review proposed that improvements should be made when opportunities occurred.