April was a month of contrasting fortunes for Reading’s two major regeneration projects. Royal Elm Park, a convention centre and hotel complex adjoining Madejski stadium, was enthusiastically approved by the council, to wide acclaim from the business community. By contrast, Station Hill is being put up for sale, which will likely see the proposals back on the drawing board. Since 2005, variations of plans have come and gone. The five hectare site adjacent to Reading Station was supposed to transform the town, but years on it hasn’t lived up to its incredible potential. Station Hill really is the Jack Wilshere of regeneration schemes. Continue reading “Reading’s Regeneration – a game of two halves”
In a departure from suggesting huge infrastructure projects and expensive leisure facilities, in this post I call out a few more modest ideas to improve the image of Reading.
Continue reading “4 ways to improve Reading’s image”
Last year it was announced that the BBC would vacate the 1850-built Caversham Park house, where its foreign media monitoring service is based, and sell off the estate. This week it emerged that the council and the BBC are in dispute over a “Tree preservation order” covering the site. The council has dug in meaning the BBC cannot start clearing the site in an attempt to maximise the appeal to any developer. Continue reading “Caversham Park – Blue Sky Thinking”
A new residential district for Reading is proposed at Weldale St – the current disused Wickes site. The plans were on display this week at an exhibition at Greyfriars Church. For those who didn’t make it, here’s what was presented. Continue reading “Foundry Quarter, Weldale St”
Poor air quality in East Reading hit the local news this week. The giant biscuit factory that once dominated the area has long gone. In a town with minimal industrial activity, the modern culprit is vehicle emissions, and especially those from the idling traffic along Kings Road that has gradually deteriorated from a brief peak-time issue, to virtually ever-present. In a town renowned for its congestion, Cemetery Junction is Reading’s flagship traffic jam. A third bridge and investment in public transport are clearly the focus for a solution, but I think we should look closely at how we use our limited road space to keep things moving better. The current situation is bad for residents, visitors, commuters and the environment, and I think we should explore other options. Continue reading “Cemetery Junction – Ending the Gridlock”
A year ago I set out half a dozen hopes and expectations for 2016. I think we’ve managed three out of six. Let’s take a look at what’s been ticked off, and throw in a few extra things to look out for in 2017. Continue reading “A look ahead to Reading’s 2017”
Last month, Thames Valley Property reported that Next is to relocate from Broad Street to The Oracle next year. It could turn out that 2017 is a difficult year for Reading’s retailers, but could this be the time to look to the future for our central shopping area. Continue reading “Where Next?”