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Rethink after protest over Elms Field plans

Published: 28 Dec 2013 09:300 comments

PLANS to regenerate Wokingham town centre – including the controversial bulldozing of parts of Elms Field – are going back to the drawing board.

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Council bosses have withdrawn two planning applications – one that involved building a superstore, shops and housing on parts of Elms Field, and one for the renovation of Peach Plaza.

The controversial plan to build on part of Elms Field was the subject of a fiery special public meeting of the council earlier this month.

Cllr David Lee, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said: “It’s basically to allow us more time to look at the designs. A lot of time has been spent on different designs but we want it to look and retain its status as a market town.”

Cllr Lee denied it was a victory for the opposing Liberal Democrat group – which has fought to stop any building on Elms Field.

However Cllr Prue Bray, leader of the Lib Dem group, said the Tory-run council had wasted a large amount of taxpayers’ money.

She said: “How could they get it so wrong? It’s ridiculous with the whole weight of the council they haven’t got the application right. It gives us a Christmas break [from fighting for Elms Field] and then we will start again.”

A statement on the Wokingham Borough Council website added: “Many comments continue to be received on the two applications. Having reviewed and considered the comments and feedback received to date the council has decided to review some aspects of the design of the proposals. In order to avoid any confusion by submitting amendments to the current applications, the council has decided to withdraw them.

“The council remains committed to the regeneration process and to achieving a development of excellent design quality. It will resubmit the applications in the near future at which time further consultations will be undertaken.”

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