Gaol Hype

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The community interest company known as Theatre & Arts Reading (TAR) has today released details of its vision for an arts complex at Reading Gaol.  The 1970’s Hexagon theatre is a true Reading landmark, and is well loved locally having endeared itself to at least a couple of generations over the years.  My childhood Hexagon highlight was the Sooty show, whilst more recently, if I admit it, I do quite enjoy the travelling West End musicals my wife “drags me along to”.  I’m perhaps not the culture vulture that TAR is aiming at, but when I’ve spoken to people who are closer to the arts scene, they tend to complain about the Hexagon. Continue reading “Gaol Hype”

Gaol Hype

Clarendon House Extension Plans

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Wednesday saw South Street Arts Centre play host to Reading’s latest planning exhibition.  This time around the proposed scheme relates to a fairly nondescript office block and its car park on Watlington Street.  The existing building already has permission for conversion to 49 apartments.  Now the developer wants to build a further 45 flats on the car park. Continue reading “Clarendon House Extension Plans”

Clarendon House Extension Plans

Market Place / Friar St. plans submitted

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I covered this project last summer when the developer “Sonic Star” conducted a public consultation.  I’m pleased to see a planning application now submitted for the scheme.  The site is currently a bit of a mess, although we’re lucky it doesn’t look a lot worse.  The previous regeneration plan actually began construction around 2007 but was quickly aborted – the tower crane came down and the partly-built concrete frame was left unfinished.  Thankfully, that scheme involved retaining the Friar Street frontage, so the abandoned building site has been hidden from view for ten years, rather than being a very public relic of the credit crunch.  Finally, new plans have been lodged. Continue reading “Market Place / Friar St. plans submitted”

Market Place / Friar St. plans submitted

Centred about Town, with guest opinion

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After a lot of interest in my last post about Christmas trade, I thought it would be good to get the opinions of the great and good on the future of the town centre.  To give you an element of relief from my own ramblings, I wrote to some of the town’s movers and shakers to get you some further insight.  I’m pleasantly surprised to have received many great responses, so here you are – the views that matter… ok, and maybe one or two of my own as well. Continue reading “Centred about Town, with guest opinion”

Centred about Town, with guest opinion

The Arc – yet another new plan emerges

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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”

The Arc – yet another new plan emerges