THE READING ABBEY QUARTER project scooped a prestigious national planning award last week.
The Reading Abbey Revealed project won in the ‘Best use of Heritage in Placemaking’ category at the Planning Awards 2020.
The Planning Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in planning work by local authorities, consultants, developers, lawyers, voluntary and neighbourhood groups and all the other key players in the planning system.
The winners were announced at a digital awards ceremony which took place on the 8th and 9th of September 2020.
The judges were particularly impressed with Reading’s use of community participation in consultations to ensure a broad spectrum of people could participate and enjoy a new ‘sense of place’ within the Abbey Quarter.
Cllr Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Member for Planning, said:
“We are incredibly honoured our project has been chosen for the ‘Best use of Heritage in Placemaking’ award. We are proud to be counted alongside some of the finest examples of planning in the UK.
“Reading’s Abbey has truly returned to become a highlight of our town’s cultural and heritage scene. Thanks to our planning vision, the Abbey Quarter is now a thriving landmark for locals and tourists alike.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all those involved in making this award-winning project a success, including our contractors CRL Restoration and HCC Property Services.”
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’m delighted by this well-deserved national recognition for the Abbey Quarter. The Abbey Revealed Project is an excellent example of an ambitious vision for heritage and culture made reality. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to all those involved in making this award-winning project a success!
“We are getting very excited by the build-up to 2021, which marks the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Reading Abbey. The Abbey Quarter is a must-visit destination for residents and visitors to Reading. Steeped in history, visitors can explore the former grounds of Reading’s royal abbey and burial place of King Henry I. Find out more at www.readingabbeyquarter.org.uk/visit”
Reading was up against several other high-profile projects from around the country, including Walthamstow’s restoration of its historic Hoe Street cinema, Woolwich Royal Arsenal Riverside regeneration, the refurbishment and redevelopment of the historic Plumstead Library, the redevelopment of the former RAF Stanton Harcourt at Hayfield Green and the refurbishment of the Watch Tower at Alconbury Weald.
Find out more about the Planning Awards 2020 www.planningawards.com
Follow on Twitter at @Planning_Awards
Reading Abbey Revealed
The Abbey Quarter in central Reading brings together nationally important heritage within the former grounds of Reading Abbey, once one of Europe’s largest royal monasteries. The conservation of the Grade I listed, scheduled Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gateway were central to Reading Council’s vision to transform the Abbey Quarter into a unique historical destination.
Reading Abbey Revealed is a major project, made possible through £1.77 million funding support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and match funding of £1.38million from Reading Borough Council.
Reading Council appointed CRL Restoration as the main contractor responsible for implementing the conservation side of the Reading Abbey Revealed project in January 2017.
The ambitious scope of the project has conserved the remains of Reading Abbey and the Abbey Gateway, and has provided opportunities through events, volunteering and education. Site-wide interpretation of the Abbey Quarter has included the opening of the new Abbey gallery at Reading Museum and installing new information points across the town. The accompanying activity programme will continue until the end of 2020.
The Abbey Gateway completed in April 2018 and the Abbey ruins re-opened to the public on 16th June 2018.
Find out more by visiting the Abbey Quarter’s website www.readingabbeyquarter.org.uk
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/ReadingAbbeyQuarter or by following them on twitter @RdgAbbey
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.heritagefund.org.uk