'Pedestrianise Denmark Street on Saturdays'
August 01, 2007
A Wokingham retailer is calling for the town centre to be pedestrianised on Saturdays after witnessing Denmark Street traffic-free during road works.
John Piasecki, who owns Hudson Bay clothing shop, has written to Cllr Frank Browne, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, calling for a car-free zone through Denmark Street.
Denmark Street has been closed to traffic since June 24 as Southern Gas Networks replaces the gas pipes, and while many businesses feared a lack of trade, Mr Piasecki has been enlightened by the road closure.
He said: “One thing which has come out of this is we now have evidence of what would happen if we were to close Denmark Street and pedestrianise it on Saturdays. The reality is we have had no choice about it being pedestrianised.
“On Saturday it looked very relaxed and everybody was walking very calmly and casually with no traffic coming through. It was a nice, pleasant feel.
“I firmly believe it’s a good thing. If we were to close Denmark Street it would be free and easy for people to walk around and it would give the town a more amiable shopping experience.
“There would be the option of putting on activities for kids or craft stalls.
“We have only got to look at Bracknell and all the things they do there because the
centre is pedestrianised.
“There’s more opportunity to do street entertainment, which will add to the shopping experience.
"There’s no way we can compete with Reading but we can offer a more pleasurable experience.”
Brian Newman, Wokingham town centre manager, supports Mr Piasecki’s vision.
He said: “I think it’s a fantastic idea. That to me would be ideal.
“Some retailers might have the opportunity to trade out in the road even.”