FIRST NAMES OUT FOR PEACH PLACE
Food is the theme for first arrivals in new shopping centre
AN ARTISAN bakery loved by celebrities including David Beckham is one of the big names opening in the upmarket Peace Place. GAIL’S Bakery has chosen Wokingham for only its third shop outside London where it has branches in Hampstead, King’s Road and Notting Hill. The high-end frozen food retailer, Cook, has also announced it is coming to Rose Street with two as yet unnamed designer stores also in line to open in Peach Street. Town bosses are delighted that so many quality outlets are moving to the revamped town centre with more shops, bars and other businesses to be named soon. These are seen as the ideal balance for local independents and boutiques. GAIL’S Bakery has 42 shops across London with Oxford and Hove the only towns outside the capital to have branches. It is a favourite with TV presenters Richard and Judy and actor Ewan McGregor.
A spokesperson for the company said: “GAIL’s Bakery will treat local residents in Wokingham to freshly baked loaves, cakes and lunches from the brand-new bakery.
“We bake over thirty types of bread every day, including classics such as GAIL’s French Dark Sourdough, baguettes, rye loaves and fruit breads. Breakfast is also served until 3pm every day and fresh pastries, sandwiches, salads and cakes are available to enjoy in the bakery or for takeaway.
“Alongside GAIL’s expert bakers, their specialist baristas will be serving the unique, award-winning GAIL’s House Blend to customers.”
The remodeling of the town centre has caused a major upheaval with questions raised about the cost and numerous complains about parking and street designs.
But the host of big name retailers who have decided to open in Wokingham will please councillors.
Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for regeneration, said: “We’ve spent a lot of time listening to people’s comments about the type of businesses they would like to see in the town centre and looking at the mix of shops in similar towns to see what makes them a success.
“We’ve worked closely with our lettings agents to make sure our vision for the town – lots of local independents and boutiques mingling with excellent national names – becomes a reality.
“GAIL’s Bakery is a fantastic artisan bakers found in great locations such as Hampstead, Chiswick and Richmond.
“We’ve had several residents mention them to us over the years and we’re very pleased they have chosen Wokingham to open one of their few stores outside of London.
“This really shows their confidence in our town and we think they will be a great fit for Wokingham.
“GAIL’s Bakery has a strong local feel and the quality of their produce really stands out as does their award winning range of bread, pastries and cakes which are handmade every day using the best ingredients.
“Cook will also be an excellent addition to the town and, in their new location, on Rose Street, will help to draw people to and from Waitrose increasing footfall in the town centre.
“Cook brings something completely new to the town centre and, with their fantastic range of very high quality food, will be a great complement to other retailers in the town centre and help attract new visitors to Wokingham.
“They also have great credentials as a business with an impressive range of community and charitable activities undertaken as well as being one of the best companies to work for in the UK.”
Cllr Mirfin added that the new pedestrian square will bring more independent retailers to the town.
“We think they will work perfectly framing this more intimate space, with its opportunities for outdoor seating, relaxation and community use.
“We’ve already lined up lots of businesses for this space and, following some internal tweaks to these units to accommodate their layouts, we expect them to start opening up early next year and will be releasing some names soon.”
He said the council was “holding back two units” on Peach Street for high-end fashion retailers who do not wish to open until next year.
These businesses will join the list of operators already secured for the town at Elms Field.
Retailers already announced include boutique cinema Everyman Cinemas), an Aldi foodstore and a Premier Inn.
Borough residents are set to benefit twice from the regeneration schemes with the developments delivering, not only a fantastic town centre with far improved facilities, but also generating a brand new income year on year for the council which will be used to fund essential services for all residents.