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”→
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”→
It’s been a while since I posted, and a number of you have been asking for updates on what’s going on around town. Whilst pretty much all of this has been reported in various places, hopefully it’s useful or interesting to pull it all together. And I promise, it’s not all about flats! …Okay, some of it is about flats.
I think residents underestimate the influence they have on the development of our town. One small decision locally stood out for me over the summer: the refusal of flood lights for existing tennis courts in suburban Reading. Whilst the main reason for refusal was linked to the light directly, the documentation reveals local complaints related to noise were also upheld:
“Youthful high spirits!” Look, I’ve nothing to suggest the correct laws and processes weren’t applied. Maybe those laws should be reviewed, but my main point here is that we need people to be more community-spirited than the folk at number 23. Wouldn’t it be great if people directed their energy and influence to making exciting new things happen, rather than constantly protesting against the endeavours of others? As it happens, this week – Wednesday 5th September – you have a chance (actually a second chance) to do exactly that. The council is consulting on initials ideas for the regeneration of a swathe of central Reading, including Hosier St, the former civic centre site, and the police station. I went to the first consultation earlier in the summer. Continue reading “Have your say on Hosier St Plans”→