Agenda item

Alexandra Fraser asked the Executive Member for Business & Economic Development and Regeneration the following question:



Agenda Item 47

It states on the agenda item; A key project towards a regenerated town centre which is aligned with the Council’s Core Strategy and will provide:

• Improved public spaces

• A better retail experience

• An improved entertainment offer

• Better sports and leisure facilities

• Improved access and transport

• Improved sustainable community

• A rental income which can be used unencumbered for provision of services across the Borough.


I would like to know what sports and leisure features you will include in the Elms Field regeneration that caters for young children specifically the 0-5  group and what if any inspiration have you drawn from the carnival pool regeneration?



The outcomes you listed are the core objectives of the Council’s town centre regeneration which is made up of schemes in Peach Place, Elms Field and the Carnival site. Now unfortunately, as you are aware as we have been discussing this off line, I am unable to discuss the Carnival proposals because these are the subject, even though they are part of the Elms Field development, of a live planning application which was submitted in July and is currently under determination.


However if I can go into some of the other pieces without being specific; as I know we are trying to get a meeting together with Councillor Jorgensen to talk about your specific concerns on a particular item.  In regards to Elms Field proposals there are a range of things that are proposed that will benefit young children and families for years to come which I thought might be interesting to list:


  • An improved park with large areas of open grass to run around, with attractive planting and increased seating to enjoy the space;
  • A fantastic destination play area which has been designed with equipment for all ages and abilities with lots of opportunities for creative play, active play and relaxation;
  • Large pedestrianised areas that have been designed with space to circulate and to run great community events such as the May Fayre, Winter Carnival and Family fun days which are so popular with local children and families;
  • A new Everyman cinema which is part of a comprehensive programme to show regular family friendly films and offer special Baby Club screenings where families with small children can watch films in a relaxed environment with softened sound and dim lighting;
  • New restaurants designed to make the most of the adjacent pedestrianised spaces and open space to allow families to enjoy a great day out in Wokingham.


Off-site the Elms Field proposals are also contributing funding towards a wide range of improvements for families across the area. This includes, and I will not go on for too long:


  • £320,000 towards the new tennis club at Cantley Park which offers coaching for children from age four upwards;
  • £95,000 towards the provision of a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) to provide outdoor activities and leisure in the local area; and
  • £4.8 million in developers’ contributions which will be used by the Council towards funding infrastructure improvements from their CIL priorities list which includes a range of benefits to families and small children such as nursery schools, sports facilities and country parks.


Supplementary Question

That sounds fantastic as there is a large scope for all members of the community young, old, all ages and abilities.  I was just curious about the needs of 0-5s as they have specific and different needs developmentally than say older children.  So what specifically has there been something in there where that has been addressed eg the current pool has excellent sensory equipment and it is a perfect pool for them to play in.  That is a really good example of catering for that age group and I was just wondering in this new development if there is something similar that is so specific and dedicated to them and their needs at their age and stage of development?


Supplementary Answer

I suggest that we leave that until we get a meeting with Councillor Jorgensen and the three of us can sit round and explain in detail what we have planned as I think that would help.


The Leader of Council stated:

We can organise an off-line meeting to go through the Carnival Pool application because there are a number of different things and proposals that are coming forward as well, within Carnival Pool, which are quite exciting.  As a mother myself of an 8-year old having gone through the 0-5s recently there are some interesting things.