In this post, I take a look at the latest state of retail in Reading. Trying to find out whether local shopkeepers had a successful Christmas season is not entirely straightforward. Chains provide updates on their national performance, but don’t provide store-by-store breakdowns. However, we do have some figures published by the Reading BID (business improvement district) on footfall in the town centre, together with some commentary and quotes from retailers. They’ve given a headline figure of -5.6% vs Christmas 2017, against a national average of -3.8%. Some of individual comments were interesting: Continue reading “Reading Retail Update – a very Broad Street”
Local papers can attract ridicule at times. The stereo-typical “Cat stuck up tree” headlines are good for a laugh – “Reading man almost wins lottery” is the most comical genuine example I can remember. But I think the local press is a really important part of the community, keeping us informed, entertained and providing some scrutiny over local councils and institutions. Last week saw the relaunch of GetReading, the former Reading Post, or former former Evening Post, as In Your Area. Recent years have certainly seen a significant shake-up in the newspaper industry, local papers especially, and this latest initiative, with Reading as a guinea pig, is a nationally significant development. Here are my observations.
Continue reading “In Your Area – a new start for local press?”
Reading generates planning applications at a prolific rate. The problem seems to be getting them all built. In fact, it would be impossible for them all to be built, because most of them tend to be repeat applications for alternative schemes on the same sites. Station Hill is the most celebrated example, with at least three or four schemes having been separately drawn-up and subsequently shelved. Now the site of the former BMW garage on Kings Meadow Road is catching up. Following the high-profile and unpopular “Swan Heights” three-tower idea, developer Lochaillort finally won planning approval last year for the revised “Thames Quarter” project, featuring a 23-storey apartment block comprising 315 homes. Before the ink on the rubber stamp has even dried, they’re back again with a completely new plan, dubbed “The Arc”. Continue reading “The Arc – yet another new plan emerges”
A new year is upon us, and an unmissable chance to revisit some of last year’s highlights and to look ahead to what might be making waves in 2018. Continue reading “A big shout out to 2018”
Britain has hundreds of cities (and towns), but which is the best one? I commissioned an in-depth study to find out. Today I’m delighted to publish the results, and officially reveal Britain’s best city (or town)…
Happy Christmas everyone! Thank you for your interest in my blog this year, hopefully see you again in 2018.
…and me scrolling randomly around Google maps
“Peer review” welcomed 😉
The council is currently consulting on the final draft of its “local plan” covering the development of Reading up to 2036. I’ve taken a look through the document.
Continue reading “Reading’s Local Plan”
Contrary to popular belief, I do occasionally venture outside the Greater Reading area. Last week I was fortunate enough to go to Lisbon for Web Summit, a world-renowned technology conference. From virtual reality to flying cars, in this post I’ll cover some of the innovations coming down the road (or hovering above it), as well as considering some of the implications for us locally. Continue reading “Supporting a technology tradition”