Britain has hundreds of cities (and towns), but which is the best one? I commissioned an in-depth study to find out. Today I’m delighted to publish the results, and officially reveal Britain’s best city (or town)…
Happy Christmas everyone! Thank you for your interest in my blog this year, hopefully see you again in 2018.
…and me scrolling randomly around Google maps
“Peer review” welcomed 😉
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”
The East Reading MRT is a proposed bus, cycle and pedestrian link across the mouth of the Kennet to link Thames Valley Park directly to Reading Station. I’ve covered the topic before, but this week there are further exhibitions to coincide with the submission of a planning application. I called by earlier to find out the latest. Opinions were mixed, but it’s fair to say that opponents were more numerous than supporters. There was a make-shift protest stall outside the event trying to garner signatures for a petition against the scheme. I stopped to talk to them too about their concerns.
Continue reading “The Kennet Mouth Bridge – Calming Troubled Waters”
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”
In a departure from suggesting huge infrastructure projects and expensive leisure facilities, in this post I call out a few more modest ideas to improve the image of Reading.
Continue reading “4 ways to improve Reading’s image”
Poor air quality in East Reading hit the local news this week. The giant biscuit factory that once dominated the area has long gone. In a town with minimal industrial activity, the modern culprit is vehicle emissions, and especially those from the idling traffic along Kings Road that has gradually deteriorated from a brief peak-time issue, to virtually ever-present. In a town renowned for its congestion, Cemetery Junction is Reading’s flagship traffic jam. A third bridge and investment in public transport are clearly the focus for a solution, but I think we should look closely at how we use our limited road space to keep things moving better. The current situation is bad for residents, visitors, commuters and the environment, and I think we should explore other options. Continue reading “Cemetery Junction – Ending the Gridlock”
Last Friday I attended a public exhibition at the Town Hall for revised proposals for the development previously known as Swan Heights to be built on the former BMW site on Napier Road. Here’s what I picked up, and some follow up thoughts… Continue reading “Swan Heights, the Thames and a Tunnel”
The largely derelict Station Hill site was bought by John Madejski’s property company in March 2005. Eleven and a half years later, progress has been painfully slow. With no news on the project in months you can only imagine my excitement upon noticing last week that the website logo in the top right-hand corner of the screen had been updated! Whilst the Station Hill developers are somewhat tardy at building buildings, in relation they’re positively prolific at building websites. By now I should surely be writing a piece about gleaming new architecture? In the absence of any bricks and mortar, and thanks to the little-known online gem that is the “wayback machine” internet archive, here instead is my history of the StationHillReading.co.uk website.
Continue reading “Station Hill – no news whatsoever”
You can’t write a blog about Reading without tackling the longest standing local talking point. Awful traffic jams on all approaches to the existing Caversham and Reading Bridges are the bane of lives both sides of the river – it’s not hard to see why more capacity is needed. When it comes to Reading’s Third Bridge saga, the only difficult question to answer is for exactly how many decades this idea has been discussed and procrastinated: I’m afraid I can’t do any better than ‘many’.
Continue reading “The Third Reading Bridge”
Yesterday I called in at the exhibition showing the proposals for the redevelopment of the Homebase and Toys R Us sites. The event was held in the permanently moored barge at Blakes Lock and, as these things go, it was one of the better ones, even providing drinks and cake! Continue reading “Home from Homebase”