AN ABANDONED car park in the town centre has been re-opened this week - saving it being turned into housing.

Wokingham Borough Council made the announcement that the car park on Denmark Street, previously owned by Eurocarparks, would be re-opening after a deal was finalised on Thursday, February 6.

The 130-space car park should be fully revived and functional in the next couple of weeks.

This comes despite a planning application to build 77 flats on the site being debated only months ago - it was rejected in July 2019, one reason being a concern for permanent loss of town centre parking.

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Councillor Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development said: “We’ve invested significantly in creating a future for Wokingham town centre over recent years and facilities, like the Denmark Street car park, are an incredibly important part of helping the town and its businesses thrive.

"Its closure has proven an issue for visitors to Wokingham over the last few months and we know this is something so many of our residents have asked us to address.

"The car park is ready to operate as a council car park using the existing ticket machines in the lower car park but more machines are being added after completion.

"Recognising the impact this closure has had on the town and the pressure it has placed on other car parks, we want to allow people to start parking again as soon as possible."

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The councillor continued to describe how tickets can be bought from the existing machine over the road, with instructions posted around the site.

He added: "We’ve bought these properties as part of the council’s property investment portfolio which is proving a great success in securing the council a regular source of income that can be used to fund essential services across the borough.

"This purchase has the double benefit of also allowing us to secure and protect the future of this popular car park which has such wider importance for the town itself.

"Given the previous owners application to redevelop the site I’m sure some people will think we have bought this to submit a similar large scale scheme ourselves and I’d like to reassure people this isn’t the case.

"As a council we firmly recognise the importance of parking in the town centre and, whilst this demand remains so strong we have no plans to stop providing public parking in this location.”

The new car park will operate the same as the current Denmark Street car park, and tickets will be interchangeable across the combined car parks - parking will be available for a maximum of four hours, with charges applying between 8am to 6pm.