To receive an update from Simon Russian, Legal and General, on the work to regenerate Bracknell Town Centre.
Simon Russian, Legal and General, gave a presentation on the regeneration of Bracknell town centre and the work taking place to make the regenerated town centre as accessible as possible.
The Group was informed that most of the steelwork for the two main buildings was now complete and work had started on the new cinema and multi-storey car park. Work on the development of the new public realm was expected to start in December.
The new multi-story car park would be entered from Millennium Way and have 68 disabled parking spaces distributed across its six floors. All the disabled spaces would be located around the central core of the building in close proximity to the lifts. Each floor of the car park would have direct level access to the Marks and Spencer and Fenwicks stores. The car park would be height restricted although four by four vehicles without roof boxes would be able to access the multi-story car park. To ensure that taller vehicles were able to access the town centre a new 35 space surface car park with 8 disabled spaces would be created next to the multi-story car park.
The Group expressed concern that many people found it either difficult or impossible to take tickets from car park barriers. It was agreed that these concerns would be raised with the developers so that appropriate entry and payment systems could be considered.
The Council would be responsible for deciding the parking charges levied. It was not clear whether disabled parking would be free and Councillor Finnie agreed to follow this up with the Council.
To minimise the significant gradient across the town centre the developers were working on a number of solutions including installing lifts to negate the four metre gradient between Waitrose and the rest of the development and breaking up sloping walkways with flat walkways. Where stairs and steps were necessary then these would have visibility strips installed in them and the handrails would be made of wood.
The Shopmobility service was operating successfully from its current location in Princess Square and would remain there after the redevelopment was completed. To improve access to Shopmobility a new layby would be created near to the lifts and the bridges across The Ring into Princess Square would be refurbished.
There would be new toilet facilities in the core area of the multi-story car park and these would include disabled toilets that had been designed according to Changing Places specifications. There would also be two family changing rooms. It was questioned whether the disabled toilets would be locked to all those without a RADAR key and it was agreed that this would be followed up with the developers.
Work on the Way Finding Strategy for the new public realm would be completed in the new year. It was envisaged that a variety of way-finding tools, including powered computer terminals, would be used throughout the town centre
Rough granite block paving would be used throughout the redeveloped town centre. Extensive testing had confirmed that it would not be slippery in wet weather. The material to be used was similar to that used outside to that used outside the Shard and Smithfield Market in London
It was reported that the unevenness of the pathways through the temporary hoardings made the paths difficult to negotiate if you were visually impaired and this needed to be looked at.
The Group thanked Simon Russian for his update and requested that further updates be given as work progressed.