A big shout out to 2018

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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”

A big shout out to 2018

Reading’s Local Plan

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.

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Reading’s Local Plan

5 Reading buildings that could be put to better use

1) The Lower Ship, Duke Street

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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”

5 Reading buildings that could be put to better use

Shipping Container Plans for Broad St Mall

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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.

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Shipping Container Plans for Broad St Mall

175 Friar St – Past, Present and Future

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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?

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175 Friar St – Past, Present and Future

Kings Road – Making a Point

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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.

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Kings Road – Making a Point

Reading’s Regeneration – a game of two halves

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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”

Reading’s Regeneration – a game of two halves