Individual Conservation Areas in Reading

Updated March 2020 – Updated Russell St/ Castle Hill/ Oxford Road added

Conservation Area status and its implications

Conservation Area status places a statutory duty on local planning authorities to pay special attention to preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas while undertaking their planning duties. Such designation essentially controls the demolition of unlisted buildings over a certain size and works to protect trees, restricts permitted development rights on dwelling houses and tightens regulations on advertising.

Reading’s Conservation Areas

Reading has 15 Conservation Areas, each is supported by a Conservation Area Character Appraisal which identifies the attributes of each area in order to aid the protection of an area’s the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Appraisals are used by Planning Officers in their consideration of Planning Applications.

Reading Borough Council’s website on Conservation areas may reached by the following link;

The Conservation Areas

As of 23 February 2018 individual Conservation Area Character Appraisals may be readily accessed on Reading Borough Council’s website   Information about all CAs

The same information is provided below.  In addition however we also provide

  •  Mini summaries which members of the CAAC have prepared of most of the areas (Routh Lane is being prepared and Horncastle awaits volunteers to take it forward).
  • A summary and overview for Eldon Square.

Alexandra Road;  Mini Appraisal (AR) ;  Full Appraisal (AR)

Christchurch; Mini Appraisal (C) ; Full Appraisal (C)

Downshire Square;   Mini Appraisal (DS) ; Full Appraisal (DS)

Eldon Square;  Mini Appraisal (ES) ,  Eldon Square – Summary and Overview; Full Appraisal (ES)

Horncastle;     Horncastlemini;  Full Appraisal (HC);

Kendrick; Mini Appraisal (K);  Full Appraisal (K)a

Market Place; Mini Appraisal (MPLS),  Full appraisal (MPLS)

Redlands; Mini Appraisal (R)Full Appraisal (R)

Routh Lane – Tilehurst- work in progress; Full Appraisal (RL)

Russell St/ Castle Hill / Oxford Road; Mini Appraisal (RSCH)Full Appraisal (RSCH). 

South Park; Mini Appraisal (SP)Full Appraisal (SP)

St Mary Butts / Castle Street; Mini Appraisal (SMCS) ,  Full Appraisal (SMCS)

St Peters (Caversham); Mini Appraisal (SP) ; Full Appraisal (SP)

Surley Row (Caversham); Mini Appraisal (SR)Full Appraisal (SR)

The Mount;Mini Appraisal (M)Full Appraisal (M)

The process of updating CA Character Appraisals

The appraisals currently in place were completed in the main by consultants.  They should be renewed every 5 years to ensure that they reflect the up to date situation and are continuing to do the job they are designed for – to protect areas the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’.  Many however are out of date, or soon will be. Whilst the council does not have the resources to commission consultants to carry out the updates it is felt that updates carried out by volunteers who know, and care about, the areas undertaking a bottom up review will be far more powerful.

Members of the CAAC are gradually undertaking this work.  Russell Street/ Castle Hill and St Peters (Caversham) are the first areas being examined, progress reports are provided separately.  Market Place/ London Street commenced in April 2017 and work continues.

Conservation Area Advisory Committee

In 2016 the Conservation Area Advisory Committee was established.  Its first aim is to work to update the existing Conservation Area Appraisals.  Further information is HERE.

Recent Posts

Station Retail Park development plans submitted

Station Retail Park Development (the TGI Fridays/ ALDI/ Majestic Wine Warehouse site), Caversham Road / Vastern Road. Application for Outline Planning Consent now submitted.

The initial design for the development which will run along Vastern Road and Caversham Road.

3 April 2020 An application for Outline Planning Consent has been submitted for this site No 200328. The link to the application on RBCs Planning site is HERE

A final exhibition was held on 30 & 31 October 2019.  The link HERE takes you to information about the proposals. On Social Media there are understandable concerns from local residents about the loss of the supermarket and other facilities, which will not be replaced for 5 years (the expected time the scheme will take to complete). If taken to completion this scheme will add some 900 flats and some office space with retail on the ground floors. The scheme raised a lot of opposition from people living in Caversham the company commented after the exhibition that “Most of the 220 comments came from Caversham residents and 70% objected.” The Reading on Thames Nov 2019 blog commented The height of the tall building has been pointlessly shrunk to placate the moaners from Caversham Heights.”

On 21 January members of the RCS committee, the CAAC and CADRA met Barton Willmore, the advisors behind the scheme, high up in the Blade to gain a better understanding of what is proposed here. When we meet developers and their agents in this way there is an agreement about confidentiality. It would not however be any surprise that as the site is owned by AVIVA (pension company) that Barton Willmore are developing a scheme which will lead to an Outline Planning Application, the site will then be sold on to a developer who will submit a detailed application with a view to implementation. We were given to understand that the leases on the sites end from 2021 to 2025. It will probably take up to 2 years to work up an outline planning application which gains consent so it is understandable why the scheme has been raised now.

The concerns we raised with BW included: how would construction be undertaken, would the whole site be worked on at the same time or would it work block by block as each lease came to and end (difficult either way), the challenges of all the construction traffic serving developments on Station Hill, SSE, Reading Metropolitan and this site all at pretty much the same time, the closeness of the accommodation blocks to each other, views though the site from the station to the Thames, how the design of the 3 nearby development sites work together (SSE Vastern Road, Reading Metropolitan (the former GPO Sorting Office)), pollution from the nearby road, the accumulated impact of the town centre developments on Healthcare facilities, what social facilities would be provided to build communities, are the units for sale or rent, affordable element? We have been offered a return discussion when there is more information.

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