Sunday, 19 September 2021

Precinct rebuild begins

THE redevelopment of St Martin’s shopping precinct in Caversham is under way.

Hermes Investment Management, which owns the site, has launched the first phase of the project after securing planning permission two years ago.

It plans to replace the shopfronts and canopies, install new signage, paving, lighting and benches and replace the horse chestnut trees in the square.

The next phase will include new leisure and restaurant units and additional flats.

The company says the redevelopment will create about 70 new jobs.

Matthew Chillingworth, asset manager for Hermes, said: “Starting the first phase of redevelopment is an important moment for the scheme and for Caversham. The works will overhaul the existing centre to deliver a dramatically enhanced experience to customers and residents.”

The work was originally due to be carried out all at once but was split into stages after Waitrose, which has a store in the precinct, scrapped its plans to expand into the Superdrug unit and provide public toilets, allowing the existing ones in the rear car park to be demolished.

The retailer, which has been based at the site for more than 30 years, blamed “well-documented changes in trading conditions across the supermarket sector”.

Caversham Traders Association has welcomed the redevelopment.