2 December, 2013
Wokingham can already be found on many property-buyers' 'most wanted' lists. The attractive market town is, according to statistics, one of the healthiest places to live in the UK and is close enough to London to make it perfect for capital commuters. Local authorities are, however, looking to improve the transport situation in the coming years, in the hope of boosting the town's appeal even further.
The long-term plans for Wokingham's major regeneration have been widely publicised; Wokingham Borough Council, for example, recently received more than £6 million to boost the area's infrastructure. The money, which has been provided by the Government's own Local Pinch Point Fund (LPPF), will be spent mainly on reducing troublesome traffic bottlenecks and congestion around Wokingham's busier spots.
It could, however, be said that some of the more immediate projects have slipped under the radar a little.
A new transport hub
In November, Wokingham's outdated railway station building was demolished after the town's residents began settling into their new-look facility, which opened officially in October. It is thought that the new £6 million project, which has been a cause for excitement for many in the region, is on schedule to be completed in January.
While its new 20p toilet charge has been a subject of debate, the station has been widely praised for its innovative design, with the long-awaited overhaul involving the installation of a new, brightly-lit footbridge. There is, however, more to come.
There are plans in place to open a cafe shop for travellers, and accessibility will also be improved with a new ramp. What's more, canopies will be installed on both platforms to improve passenger comfort levels.
The knock-on benefits
From a practical point of view, the residents of Wokingham will obviously benefit instantly from the new station's opening, but the council's focus on improving travel options also bodes well for the future. As well as improving access for those commuting out of Wokingham, the changes will make it easier for people to visit the town, and this will surely lead to an increase in interest from UK business owners looking for somewhere to invest.
Wokingham's handy links to Gatwick Airport, central London and Reading are showcased regularly, and the changes will only boost these draws even further. With the recently-announced regeneration plans and a scheme to improve bus routes for college students in the area also on the cards, it's safe to say this small market town is set to show some impressive growth.