Browne: ‘None of the Elms schemes are right for town’
August 29, 2007
The council leader has apologised to townspeople who believed the six schemes for Elms Field were their only options, and admitted none are right for Wokingham.
Cllr Frank Browne has said more work is needed to get the right vision for the Elms Field redevelopment project, which he believes will breathe new life into the town.
In a full and frank interview with Wokingham Times’ chief reporter Victoria Corbett, Cllr Browne and Cllr Chris Bowring, champion for town centres at Wokingham Borough Council, laid bare their real hopes and ambitions for Elms Field and its surrounding land.
The councillors insisted the principle aim behind developing Elms Field is not financial, but to improve the viability of Wokingham town centre.
And Cllr Browne vowed to withdraw from private and public discussions completely if a developer that works with his employer Green Issues is selected.
In a bid to reassure residents their opinions and suggestions are being heard, Cllr Browne said: “None of the developers’ ideas are actually ideal for what we are trying to deliver on Elms Field and to be honest I do not think we ever expected first time round we would get something that was absolutely spot-on.”
When asked if he realised some residents had been led to believe the six options were the only ones on the table and they were being forced to pick one from a bad bunch, Cllr Browne said he believed the council had been clear it wanted opinions on the aspects of each scheme.
Many residents, along with Wokingham Town Council, have hit out at the limiting six options presented for consultation.
He said: “I think we did make it reasonably clear we were looking for the bits people liked as well as other ideas. If that did not come across I can only apologise.
“That is not the situation, we are not going to go with any of those six schemes.”
What do you think of Cllr Browne's comments? Let us know on this website.
Read more of this interview in this week's Wokingham Times.