Agenda item

Peter Must asked the Executive Member for Planning and Transport the following question:




In noting the paper proposing a Vision for the future in respect of travelling to Wokingham may I: - First point out that elements of this paper derive from previous Public Realm Workshops and consultation through an exhibition, these last being held in 2013. At a stakeholders’ meeting on 22 April this year about the development of the Market Place and the surrounding street environment, we were told that a report following those engagements had been intended to be made available to the public and, on further enquiry, I was assured that it would indeed be put on the Council website and stakeholders would be told where to find it. This has not happened and I would urge the Executive Member to ensure the early availability of this long overdue and important public document.


Secondly, ask the Executive Member and the Executive to include in the decision taken about this Vision paper agreement that, in view of its importance as a matter of considerable significance, it be made available to the local community with a view to them knowing of and sharing in, or being able to critique, that vision, so that future discussions about the town centre public realm can be guided by it?


The Vision document seeks to set out a strategic approach to ensure that visitors to Wokingham have a choice about how they make their journey through a range of sustainable travel options and have a positive experience when they arrive.


It is a high level Vision document but all other third parties interest will of course be taken into consideration as we move forward with initiatives within the town.  This is why we have not come up with a straight jacket policy.  It is very flexible and will allow us to consider local comments as when they arise. The document is open and loose allowing local input as it develops.


Your question relates to the previous Public Realm work we undertook and I thank you for bringing to our attention that the LDA Public Realm and Design and Delivery Strategy is no longer available on the Council’s website.  The planning pages of the website have been in the process of being refreshed and now that they have been I will ensure that the LDA document is reinstated as soon as possible, however the information is available on request in the interim.


Supplementary Question

I am not certain that we are talking about the same document.  I had assumed that just as there had been for the 2011 public realm engagement where the people that ran that session provided a report back to the public, that a similar report was going to be provided.  It is this that I thought was available rather than a strategy document.


Supplementary Answer

I must admit that I am not aware of the original as at that point I was not involved, so I am not quite clear what the references of that were. This document will hopefully be agreed and I have spoken to Officers about it.  We have got it in a format which will allow for its modification as we go through the regeneration of the Town Centre.  That I feel is the best way rather than a very straightjacketed policy on car parks that the Council has tended to have in the past, this will allow input from other areas such as parish and town councils and other interested parties in the town.


Philp Mirfin, Executive Member for Regeneration and Communities also commented that:


I understand Mr Must that you have a meeting arranged with Sarah Morgan, Regeneration and Design Manager in the next couple of days.  If there is further information you require, I would suggest that you put those questions to her. I understand she will be covering a lot of the points raised by your question anyway, but if there is anything further then it would be suitable to put additional questions in after that.  But I think you will find that she will give you quite a lot of information around that subject when you meet her.  However, if there is anything remaining please feel to contact to the Executive Member for Planning and Highways or myself.