Reading’s long wait to restore town centre ten-pin bowling could be about to end as Hammerson submits a radical proposal for a leisure-led makeover of its House of Fraser department store. Plans also include a food hall, an indoor golf complex, a new cafe on Bridge Street, and some remaining retail space inside the mall. Undoubtedly the most significant development at The Oracle since its final phase linking to Broad Street opened in 2000, let’s take a look at the plans and how we’ve ended up here. Continue reading “Bowling, Golf and Food Hall to replace House of Fraser”
The latest planning exhibition last week featured plans for the TGI Friday/Mothercare/Aldi/Range units on Vastern Road – technically Reading Station Shopping Park, as absolutely nobody calls it. We could be looking at upwards of 900 apartments, although plans are fairly vague at this stage, and if office space is included at the eastern end (as shown) and/or a hotel at the western end then that number could reduce considerably. With an imminent planning application only at the outline stage, further stages could see the plans refined within the broad layout and building heights being proposed now. Continue reading “Reading Station Shopping Park”
I use these pages to break free from the character limited world of Twitter. But if I’m going to post here I feel it’s got to be long enough to be worth it, so I set a nominal lower limit. That means that when it comes to commenting on local goings-on, I am faced with a choice of writing either less than 280 characters, or 1000 words. So here goes… 1000 words on the December 2019 train timetable changes with, hopefully, minimal repetition, hesitation or deviation – although the odd rail replacement bus service cannot be ruled out.
Continue reading “December ’19 Timetable Preview”
We had Sir John Madejski’s original Station Hill plans, then Station Hill 2, and SH3. The latest developers are trying to leave the past failures behind by ditching the numeric suffix. Thankfully they’ve also avoided named alternatives, like Vista or XP. No, we’re keeping it simple – not Station Hill Goes Forth, or Station Hill – The Goblet of Fire, just plain old Station Hill. And in fact the main evolution from Station Hill – The Prisoner of Azkaban is that they’re saying Expelliarmus to Garrard St car park and installing a podium to remove the ‘Hill’ altogether. Unique, of course, to the novels of the Station Hill series is that nothing actually ever happens: so many plots yet no storeys. But without going over the top, I feel we might have captured the golden egg at last. Welcome to Station Hill – Millennial Edition. Continue reading “Station Hill 4 Revealed – Let’s get on with it”
Looking down my (admittedly not especially long) list of email subscribers, it’s clear I’ve collected a fair few from the property sector. I’m glad to have you here. My theory being that having some community-led optimism and engagement in the changing face of our town is a positive thing. The world is moving fast, and differences are stark between town and city centres that continually reinvent themselves and, well, Northampton. Reading is the right side of the line, and to stay there we need the people with the money to have confidence to invest locally.
We understand that Reading Gaol is soon to be auctioned off, so below I’ve put together a little investors’ guide to help those considering a bid. Because whilst it’s great you’re keen, on this one specific and rare occasion, in the nicest possible way, please sod off. Continue reading “Gaol For Sale!”
The story of Station Hill is well documented. In fact, it would be hard to dispute after 15 years that it’s progressed from “story” comfortably into “saga” territory. I certainly feared the next re-classification might be to “myth”. Yet this week, finally, firm new plans have been published. The proposals relate specifically to the Friar’s Walk plot, where a disused shopping arcade has been boarded up since 2004. Continue reading “Station Hill, brought to you by the letter E”
New plans have been submitted for a significant residential development at the Broad St Mall. Here’s a quick look at the plans. Continue reading “Broad St Mall Looking Up”
This week I attended a consultation event for a new development proposal beside the Thames in Reading. With the Environment Agency also currently seeking feedback on their own significant scheme for flood defences in the town, which incredibly include a whole new section of river, it seems like a good time to review both projects, as well as revisit why I write Reading-on-Thames in the first place. Continue reading “A New River and a Better Reading Riverside – Proposals Flooding In”
Would you vote for an extra tax? You might be surprised to hear a voting process is underway right now in Reading for exactly that. It’s a simple Yes/No referendum. On this occasion, it’s not residents being polled – frankly nobody’s in a hurry to ask the public to make any more binary political choices at the ballot box. But thankfully it’s not us being taxed either. The votes on two separate town centre “Business Improvement Districts” (BIDs) ask local employers to agree, by way of a majority, to a 1% levy on their business rates (taxes) to fund a range of initiatives to “enhance their trading environment”. Continue reading “Town centre bids for success”
Having closely followed local news and discussion all year – #rdguk on twitter, various groups on Facebook, /r/reading on Reddit (which is mostly shoo-ing away people trying to talk about books) – I feel I’m well placed to summarise the year’s discourse in the form of a seasonal letter to Santa from us all. I hope you get what you want this Christmas, thank you so much for reading my rambles this year, and best wishes for 2019. Enjoy… Continue reading “Reading’s List for Santa”