THE TOWN'S MP was absent for the launch of The Lexicon, but appeared later to open a new phone store.

Conservative politician Dr Phillip Lee arrived at 3.30pm for the soft opening of The Lexicon's new Vodafone store, before joking with employees that he is on an EE contract.

He said: "This whole project survived the financial crisis, like a lot of other town centre projects didn't, and I think this is just a fantastic day for the town.

"I'm really proud. I don't want to take credit for the completion of it, it's been in the hands of others, but the people who have been on the doorsteps for years that I've represented have always wanted a town to be proud of.

"From now on I think they'll be proud of the town centre, and the experience they'll have here.

"It's busy, and I think this is going to be a fantastic success going forward.

"The town needed this. It's lifted itself, it can feel proud of itself, and with all the works going on, the improvement to the train station, the future of Bracknell is bright."

Dr Lee also passed comment on the mix of big brands and independent businesses, given the recent success of Star Kebab in maintaining a licence to trade as a street vendor.

He said: "I think there's always that danger with a high street developing, and it's the same everywhere else.

"I think it's right that people in situations like that one can still participate in this. I think that's the key actually for town centres being a success going forward.

"Yes everyone wants to see the bigger brands, the bigger names, and I understand that. But having those unique shops that you can only go to in Bracknell, that's something that the council is very conscious of going forward.

"I wasn't able to attend the launch due to ministerial business in London.

"Unfortunately it was ministerial business that I couldn't break, so instead I got down here this afternoon.

"I've seen the photographs of the launch."