LEISURE PLAN MARKS 'NEW ERA' FOR TOWN
January 03, 2002
A landmark deal signed on Wednesday, December 21, between Wokingham District Council, AXA Real Estate Investment Managers and Holmes Place Health Clubs has paved the way for the site to be transformed into a 60,000 square foot health club, together with a restaurant and bar.
The development of the derelict site in Denmark Street could be finished within a year and will include a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool, fitness studios, luxury changing rooms, restaurant and crèche.
Cllr Coling Lawley, deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for assets and resources, said: "This really is very exciting news for Wokingham town centre.
"We are talking about a premier development that will completely revitalise and regenerate this part of the town, giving residents and visitors an excellent multi-million pound venue in which to work, rest and play.
"We can now look forward to this large and vacant building being occupied, thereby rejuvenating Denmark Street and the surrounding area.
"The signing of this agreement marks the start of a new era for Wokingham."
Wokingham District Council let the building to Tesco on a 125-year lease. Opened in 1980, the store closed in 1997 and moved to Finchampstead Road in November 1997.
A council spokesman said: "We have tried to find someone to lease it to and have now got a new agreement with AXA.
"In finding a use for the site, we've always tried to get a balance of leisure and restaurants — something that will be a mixture of uses."
John Osborn, AXA's asset manager, said: "AXA and our development managers, Ian David Limited, have worked closely with Wokingham District Council to progress this scheme and we are delighted to have secured a tenant of the quality of Holmes Place."
Suzanne Pugh, Holmes Place property director added: "We are so pleased to be forming part of this first class development in the heart of Wokingham town centre."
As well as promising to revitalise Denmark Street, the redevelopment will also see the refurbishment of the Elms Road multi-storey car park, with extra security measures.
The council says this will benefit existing traders who will potentially have more customers visiting their stores.
The plans can be viewed at the district council offices in Shute End from January 11. Work is due to start in February.