RESIDENTS and businesses are being asked for feedback on a draft vision for a key section of the town centre which covers the area of the former Civic Offices, Broad Street Mall and the Thames Valley Police Headquarters.
On Friday this week (July 20th), Reading Borough Council will publish its Draft Hosier Street Area Development Framework and is seeking people’s views on the important document which will help shape any future development of the area.
The recent relocation of the Council offices, ambitious proposals being developed by the owners of the Broad Street Mall and the review by Thames Valley Police of their existing buildings, means there are major developments on the horizon for Hosier Street and the surrounding area. The combination of different sites under different ownerships mean a detailed framework is needed to guide the various developments, and to help provide the most appropriate form of development of the whole site.
The Draft Hosier Street Area Development Framework provides a comprehensive masterplan for the area, with a particular emphasis on creating high quality public realm around which various mixed uses will be located.
Importantly, it seeks to reconnect and integrate the area with adjoining parts of the town centre, recognising the historic character of the area with the adjoining Conservation Area and numerous listed buildings. In particular, it seeks to integrate the area with St Mary’s Butts, proposing new public realm to complement the existing St Mary’s Churchyard, and to make better use of the wide carriageways. It also seeks improvements to other frontages of the Broad Street Mall, in particular the Oxford Road frontage.
In line with a new policy in the Council’s new Draft Local Plan, the framework will enable relatively high density mixed use development, with significant numbers of residential units to include affordable housing. These homes would then be grouped around a network of high quality public realm which would enable a number of tall buildings to be sensitively located within the area, including above the existing Broad Street Mall.
The Draft Hosier Street Area Development Framework can be viewed from Friday July 20th at http://www.reading.gov.uk/hosier_street. The same webpage will include a section for people to comment on the vision. Copies of the framework are also available to view at the Central Library and the Reading Borough Council Offices in Bridge Street.
Two public exhibitions/drop in events will additionally be held in the Hexagon Theatre as part of the consultation, where Council officers will be on hand to explain and discuss the proposals. These will take place in the foyer of the Hexagon Theatre on the following dates and times:
- Tuesday 31st July: 3pm to 7pm
- Wednesday 5th September: 3pm to 7pm
Alternatively, people can provide written responses by sending them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation ends on September 28th.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This draft framework provides an exciting vision for the future development of a key area of the town centre which is in need of regeneration.
“Various changes in the area – not least the Council itself vacating the old Civic Centre site and ambitious plans by the owners of Broad Street Mall – mean this part of the town centre will likely look very different in the future.
“This document, and the associated consultation, is important because it will help to provide some guiding principles for the future development in the area. I would urge local residents and businesses to take some time to familiarise themselves with the document and feed into the consultation process. The Council is also hosting two drop in events at the Hexagon Theatre over the coming weeks where people can see the outline plans in detail and help shape the final document.”
Notes To Editor:
The consultation on the Draft Hosier Street Area Development Framework was approved at a meeting of the Council’s Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee in June. Follow this link for the full report: http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/8998/Item11/pdf/Item11.pdf