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”
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”
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”
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?”