Major Development Sites & Public Consultations

Updated 17th April 2018

Royal Heights / Clarendon House on Watlington Street/ Queens Road

As briefed at the AGM on 7th April a scheme is being developed for the car park next to the former offices Clarendon House on Queens Road.  Works to convert Clarendon House (an unexciting block of offices)  to apartments have already been approved – most of the work was cleared under Permitted Development Rights.  A scheme for the rest of the site is being developed by a company with international experience who wish to make a good development in Reading.  They are Reading Heights Limited, Design Architects Emre Arolat Architecture, Executive Architect Design Architect.

We have met the developers once and have now seen some updated design ideas.  They present some interesting ideas which will certainly improve that corner.  There is also a challenging design element.  One portion of the site is 10 floors but the majority is 6 floors (one floor above the existing level of Clarendon House offices)

The plan includes Affordable Accommodation and three houses.

We encourage you to attend to meet the team who are keen to engage the public to shape their design ideas.

A public exhibition will be held on 18th April in the South Street Arts Centre between 2.30pm and 7.30pm.  The details may be seen Clarendon House Exhibition 18 April

Bristol and West Arcade Development

In 2007 a planning application was approved which included the demolition of the frontage to the B&W Arcade with tall buildings in the centre, grouped in blocks.  Whilst the development stopped around 2009, because of the financial crisis ground works had been undertaken which established the planning permission and in particular the approval of heights.

A new planning application  No 180358 was submitted late in March 2018, formal consultation commenced 4th April.  Comments have to be received within 6 weeks.  Comments by members of the public may be made on line. The application may be read HERE

The Reading on Thames Blog by Paul Windley provides a good summary and images  http://readingonthames.com

The Heritage Statement is extremely comprehensive- accessed HERE 

Weldale Street

Ropemaker Developments proposed a set up buildings and open areas on the site of the former Wicks DIY.    Members of the Committee have met Ropemaker Developments, along with other groups  such as CADRA and the Conservation Area Advisory committee.

The site is at the junction of Chatham Street and Caversham Road, close to the Inner Distribution Road.

Ropemaker Developments held an exhibition of their plans on Thursday 9th February 2017 at  Greyfriars Church, Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1EH .

The plan is to redevelop the site for around 430 new homes and commercial space for Reading. Ropemaker said “This will help Reading’s housing need, make the area safer, and support the economic regeneration of the town. We’ve already worked with the Council, Reading Civic Society and local business groups to develop our plans. But now, we want to hear your views before we submit the application to Reading Borough Council. “

The Planning Application Weldale Street – Planning Application 170326 was approved even though RBC were outraged about the zero provision of Affordable Accommodation as the Developers claimed their viability statement showed they could not afford it.

The Former BMW Site, Lochailort Developments

In 2016 a proposal for the BMW site was turned down by Reading Council, primarily because of the intensity of occupation of the relatively small site.  Described as Swan Heights  the 3 tower blocks were certainly challenging, though we felt they brought something new to Reading and supported the application.  The design was by Adam Architecture.

A new scheme was designed following extensive consultation with the Council.  Whilst the building is still tall the challenging design has undoubtedly been “dumbed down” so that it is  ” more Reading.”  It is understood that during the planning discussions balconies were requested to be added so that the building is seen to be clearly not an office building.

The developer provided a brief to Civic Society members in late 2016.  Most members at that event felt the new scheme to be more acceptable and that it would “fit” within the site, merge better with its proximity next to Kings Meadow,  as it was less intensive and challenging in design.   It was interesting to note that ALL of the flats are to be for rent by the developer, NONE will be sold.  The proportion of the buildings allocated to Services and Facilities is also high, at 1/3 of the total.

The summary description is:

Erection of a part 12 storey, part 23 storey building comprising 315 apartments in a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and 3-bedroom units; residents’ lounges, tech-hub, dining room, and cinema room; various rooftop outdoor amenity spaces; concierge/reception with coffee meeting area; residents’ storage facilities; postroom; ancillary back-of-house facilities; 315 secure cycle parking spaces; 49 car parking spaces; landscaping; and associated works. Demolition of existing multi-storey car park.

The Planning application is No 162166  was approved and despite a separate Office Scheme for the site (withdrawn early 2018) the developer continues to engage with RBC about Affordable Accommodation element.

 Kenavon Drive

Reading Borough Council  signalled that it would like to see more new homes close to the railway station and the town centre, to make best use of the shops, services and public transport without needing to use a car.

L&Q put forward ideas for the site currently occupied by Homebase and ToysRUs, originally the site of part of the Huntley and Palmer Factory.

Below the projected site map of the development

L&Q proposal is to “…create a new destination for Reading with a new central riverside square, providing facilities such as restaurants, a convenience store and landscaped open space for everyone to enjoy.  The development will create between 700 and 800 new homes including homes for affordable rent and shared ownership.”

The proposal even includes a few, a very few, houses!

A public exhibition was held in October 2016 and the company is no doubt refining its ideas in discussion with Reading Council.

Below artists impression of the view of the site from the Kennet

Further details may be seen ; The Kenavon Drive proposals   The scheme was approved. 

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