The regeneration of Wokingham town centre is expected to cost around £113 million.

As part of the project, Peach Place has been redeveloped and a 95-bedroom hotel, a cinema and shops, cafes and restaurants have been built on Elms Field.

Work on 214 homes and a new leisure centre and library on the old Carnival Pool & Fitness Centre site is well underway. Both projects are due to be completed in the summer of 2022.

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Wokingham Borough Council says 90 per cent of the units in the new town centre are now being rented out by businesses and it expects to generate around £3.5 million of profit over the next three years.

The council plans to sell the 214 homes that are being built across the town centre for around £48 million and reinvest the profits in front-line services.

It has taken out large loans to pay for the project and expects to be left with a town centre worth £114 million once those homes have been sold and an outstanding debt of £65 million.

The council says it could sell off the commercial properties for a profit of around £49 million but wants to continue renting them out so it can pay off the debt and then generate around £6 million a year in profit.

Critics of the scheme say the council may struggle to attract businesses to the new town centre after the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for regeneration, said it is “nearly full to capacity” and 90 per cent of the units are occupied, while four of the empty units are “under offer”.

The Tory councillor added: “Far from being unoccupied, the regeneration is already proving to be a huge success for the council and it is generating good levels of income.

“The income achieved in the current year is enough to cover the costs and that income is set to grow each year as more businesses open up.”

She added: “When the debt is fully repaid the surplus income will be in the region of £5 million to £6 million per year.

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“The money from this goes to pay for other council services. This is taking capital and producing revenue from selling houses and rental income.”

Cllr Haitham Taylor also said there is “enormous interest” in the new homes being built on Elms Field and many of houses have been reserved even though they are still being built.

Her comments came at a Wokingham Borough Council meeting February 18.