Plans have been submitted to reconfigure the former Marks & Spencer store in Wokingham to integrate it into the Peach Place development.
The ground floor of the building in Peach Street will be divided into two retail units and a gym with the first floor converted into new offices with terraced gardens.
Wokingham Borough Council has applied, via DHA Planning, to make the alterations which have been drawn up by HLM Architecture.
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for regeneration, said: “I’m really pleased to be submitting plans for the refurbishment of this town centre building and the council continues to invest in our borough.
“This building is an important part of Wokingham town centre and it has been crying out for improvement for many years. This is a real opportunity to not only enhance the look of the town centre by replacing the 1960s shop front, but also help reinforce footfall by introducing new shops, offices and a gym.”
The original Dutch gable which faces onto Peach Street will be restored, whilst a glazed section built in the 1960s will be replaced with a new gabled façade, designed to be a better fit with surrounding properties.
Cllr Haitham Taylor said: “When we bought the site in 2017 we decided to separate it out from the other regeneration projects to focus our efforts on delivering Peach Place and Elms Field.
“We also wanted time to work up the right designs for this site as it was important that the plans would work well with Peach Street, where we want the focus to remain on retail and business, and with Peach Place where the focus is more on leisure and entertainment around the new square.
“Over the past few decades the demand for giant retail boxes like this existing building this has changed, with many across the country lying empty for years. By breaking it down into more useable units and bringing in new uses, we aim to give the site a new lease of life for years to come.”
Forces Support has been allowed to use the building as a charity shop prior to development.
Image shows how the former M&S store will look. The Dutch gable is out of view on the section of the site to the right.
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