Welcome to information about Reading Civic Society, Conservation Areas & the Conservation Area Advisory Committee

15 September adjustments to the HODs details – this page

19 August to reflect start of formal consultation by RBC on the St Peters Conservation Area Appraisal

5 August 2018 Civic Voice Design Award to Thames Lido and addition of Heritage views to CAAC section).

Reading Civic Society was formed in 1962 to fight a wave of insensitive development that threatened to destroy much of the town’s historic centre.

2018 Heritage Open Days

Russell St/ Castle Hill Conservation Area. Under threat? 

In 2018 we ran two walks of the Russell Street / Castle Hill Conservation Area on 6th and 15th September . Starting at The Oasis (Baker Street) the walks took just over 2 hours, somewhat longer than the planned 90 minutes but there were so many questions.

At the end of the walk on the 6th  we had the opportunity to see pictures of old Reading displayed by a long time resident of Jesse Terrace and also the proposals for the redevelopment of nearby Hosier Street.


On the 6th the walks were led by Terry of Terry’s Reading Walkabouts .  On the 15th it was led by members of the Civic Society / Baker Street Area Neighbourhood Association.  Full details are HEREEventbrite HERE.

6 September

15 September

15 September

A brief summary about the Conservation area may be found HERE and the full CA Appraisal is HERE

Full information about Reading’s HODs events may be found on Living Reading HODS 2018.  Reading UK has published a free map guide to Heritage Open Days in Reading which can be picked up from libraries and leisure centres. Full details of all the events/locations can be found at www.heritageopendays.org.uk . 

For more information on the Reading-on-Thames Festival, visit www.readingonthamesfestival.org

Thames Lido Highly Commended in the Civic Voice Design Awards 2018

We submitted the restoration of the Kings Meadow Open Air Ladies Baths as the Thames Lido for consideration in the 2018 Civic Voice Awards, the Historic Buildings Category.

On Thursday 12th July, at the London City offices of architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, it was announced that Thames Lido, the restored Edwardian Ladies Baths in Kings Meadow, had won the Highly Commended Award in the Civic Voice’s Design Awards 2018 – Historic Buildings Category. In this it was judged equally with the restoration of Turner’s House in Twickenham.  Both projects cost around £3M. The Civic Voice Design Awards, which are in their 4th year,  are the “people’s choice”; projects are submitted for consideration by members of local communities and societies rather than members of the architectural profession.  We believe this is a great vote for a great Reading project.

First place was taken by The Story House in Chester, a £36M rescue of a former Cinema and its conversion into a Cinema, Theatre and Library.  It was funded by the local council at a cost per sq metre 4 times that of the cost of restoring Thames Lido.

Full details Civic Voice Design Awards all the results

Above: The presentation of the Award by R-L; Deborah Lamb, Deputy Chief Executive Historic England, to Arne Ringner, Owner of Thames Lido, and Richard Bennett DL, Chair Reading Civic Society. (Photograph copyright of Paul Humble).

2017 Heritage Open Days

In 2017 we were one of 6 Societies presented with Civic Voice’s Civic Day Award.

(Above) Richard Bennett, Katrina Parker, Dr Margaret Simons, Karen Rowland. Photo Chris Widdows

The award was given for the work carried out in Reading during 2017 to raise awareness and appreciation of Conservation Areas during the 50th anniversary year of CAs, the main theme of Civic Voice’s national activities in 2017.

You may have been directed to this page from Reading Borough Council’s page about Conservation Areas.  If so you can find information about these by clicking on the links which follow:

Conservation Areas.

  • Brief guidance about the planning constraints if you own, or rent, a property or run a business in a Conservation Area.
  • 1 page summaries of the special features of each Conservation Area and Individual Conservation Area Character Appraisals.
  • My Conservation Area matters – celebrating the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas

Listed Buildings .

Information is provided to guide owners of Listed Buildings on the permissions they need to be able to undertake work to their properties.

Article 4 Directions

Buildings in 15 streets across Reading have an Article 4 Direction applied either to manage ensure the retention of original features of historic streets (patterned brick work, original doors and windows) and / or to manage the conversion of houses to Homes of Multiple Accommodation around the University and in Jesse Terrace.  An Article 4 removes Permitted Development rights, it requires the owner to submit a planning application if they wish to undertake action which will impact on the property.  Full details of the streets and the implications is HERE. 

The Role of Reading Civic Society

  •  Scrutinise new planning proposals [link to section on planning]
  • Promote conservation not only of historic buildings but also of the town’s waterways, parks and street landscapes
  • Encourage good design in new developments.
  • Educational visits are arranged each year to nearby towns and cities during which we seek to meet members of their Civic Society to learn what we can about their issues and solutions.
  • An annual party is held for members in March each year. There is a newsletter for members 2-3 times a year.
  • Reading Civic Society is a member of Civic Voice – the national charity for the Civic Movement.  Several of its members are part of the Reading Conservation Area Advisory Committee which was formed in 2016 to advice Reading Borough Council on the issues facing Conservation Areas.

Further information about our Activities and how to join us may be found HERE

You may contact the Chair (Richard Bennett) to discuss any particular interests on Bennettbaker@msn.com

Established in 2016 information is provided here about its work and progress to date.

Conservation Area Advisory Committee.  

Achievements to date may be seen HERE


A report on Reading’s 9 Heritage Views was accepted by RBC as an input into the latest plan.  It may be seen HERE.

Conservation Area Appraisal Updates

We have made significant progress updating two conservation Area Appraisals, the progress updates are:

St Peter’s Caversham

Russell St/ Castle Hill


Volunteers to assist complete this significant task are sought. Please contact  Evelyn Williams – the Chair of the CAAC if you wish to discuss how to get involved chair.readingcaac@gmail.com

Updated 5 August 2018.



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