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”
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”
1) The Lower Ship, Duke Street
Any list of misused buildings in Reading has to start with The Lower Ship on Duke Street – a pub/hotel that’s been boarded up since the late eighties when it was sold to Yorkshire Brewery Samuel Smith’s. Continue reading “5 Reading buildings that could be put to better use”
I spotted an interesting planning application on the council’s website this week. The Broad Street Mall is proposing a temporary development of small shops and cafes built out of recycled shipping containers. It’s certainly a change of tack for the shopping centre, which has drifted off course in recent years.
Continue reading “Shipping Container Plans for Broad St Mall”
On Friday, I called into the exhibition showing new development proposals for 175 Friar Street – the former Bristol & West Arcade. The developers appear to be trying to a new tactic of keeping expectations incredibly low. The advert for the exhibition, which was shared on social media, was a grainy black and white image of their proposed Friar Street frontage, which people on reading-forum had assumed must be the building to be demolished! Then they chose to host the event in Novotel. If you’re thinking of hosting a gathering of people potentially concerned with the evolution of modern Reading then the ONE PLACE you don’t take them is Novotel. The high-rise hotel, which has added some life to an area of no-man’s-land between the station and shopping area, did sadly herald the demolition of the art deco ABC cinema. That frontage should have been retained, and Novotel’s upper floors constitute a grey lumpy box that can be seen from miles around. When I entered the event, the bemused town planning consultant found herself listening to complaints about Novotel rather than her proposed scheme. I appeared to have stumbled into a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous hosted in a local boozer – was this going to end well?
Continue reading “175 Friar St – Past, Present and Future”
The Kings Road / King Street area of Reading town centre is one of the areas undergoing significant changes. We’ve got banks becoming restaurants, offices changing colour or becoming homes, shops turning into cafes and bars, a King leaving King Street, and maybe even a local hero coming home. In this post I take a brief look at the different developments, with a delve back in time thrown in.
Continue reading “Kings Road – Making a Point”