GENERATIONS of 'poorly-laid' pipes will force the eagerly-anticipated reopening of Broad Street to be delayed.

Technicians have been battling to complete the Market Place improvement project in Wokingham town centre.

The road was due to reopen at the end of the month, but a number of faults need to be corrected, which means the road is likely to be closed until March.

Councillor David Lee, Wokingham Borough Council's executive member for Highways, said: “Balfour Beatty has uncovered an underground spaghetti junction of pipes and, to be frank, generations of poorly laid pipework and other major problems.

"All these need to sorted out before we can put down the high-quality stonework that is going to make Wokingham town centre look so great.

Bracknell News:

“This has been frustrating and we completely understand that drivers and residents are going to be bitterly disappointed by the delays, but we are fixing generations’ worth of underground issues in what is an old town centre and need to take the time to get this right.

“We are working with our contractors Balfour Beatty at the highest level to get the issues resolved as quickly as possible.”

The £3.8million joint borough and town council project is replacing the poor quality, root damaged paving, cluttered street scene and inconvenient bus lane with a smart, new look that is pedestrian-friendly and perfect to support a successful market.

Layers of pipework dating back generation have interwoven to form a tangled mess, while previously unrecorded water and gas main pipes need to be repaired.

Mayor Peter Lucey said: “While the delay is deeply annoying, we understan the underlying utilities need to be renewed.

"From our office windows we can already see our new Market Place layout emerging. We appreciate the current difficulties but our Market Place is being transformed into an attractive, configurable space with stylish York stone paving and beautiful trees in proper tree pits.

"A central space designed for us all that can be used for café tables, market stalls and a multitude of other community uses.”

Other problems included old roads and pavements that had been buried and needed to be removed.

A council spokesman added: "Senior managers at both Wokingham Borough Council and Balfour Beatty are working together to do everything possible to minimise the delay to the works but, as everyone would expect, these problems cannot be ignored if the Market Place is to be finished to the highest standard.

"This is a refurbishment that will last for many years and it must be right for the town and everyone who uses it.

"We are also working very closely to determine what impact these current problems are likely to have on the overall completion date.

"Progress is still being made on the main area of the Market Place and this will continue in tandem with the work on the Broad Street side. Information about this impact will be released as soon as possible."