As regeneration architect Studio Director John Muir’s challenge in Wokingham was to turn the vacant former Sainsbury supermarket and its crime ridden and vandalised service yards into a town centre attraction. The result is a mixed use leisure and restaurant development achieved by adaptive re-use of existing building stock and ingenious masterplanning. It has been an unqualified success with Wokingham Plaza providing attractive and secure pedestrian lanes that serve a group of new town centre restaurants and a major health club. They include the country’s first Cleaver restaurant run by the Prezzo chain.
The transformation of what was previously a ‘no go’ area to a visitor attraction has reinvigorated the centre of Wokingham so that it is now known for its food and drink. The Chamber of Commerce welcome this and have publicly stated “at 10.30pm on any Friday night the town is buzzing so we should embrace food, drink and music’.