THE READING ABBEY QUARTER project scooped a prestigious regional planning award this month.
The Abbey Quarter project was awarded the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) 2018 South East Award for Excellence in Planning for Heritage and Culture.
The awards celebrate outstanding projects that demonstrate the power of planning in transforming the communities where we live.
The judges said they were particularly impressed by the extent that Reading’s heritage is seen as a catalyst for positive change and that the Abbey Quarter is at the heart of the town’s cultural renaissance. They highlighted the Council’s positive attitude to balancing heritage protection and being a destination for locals and visitors alike; and the creation of a strategic cultural and heritage strategy for Reading.
RTPI South East Judges Panel Chair, Sue Percy, said: “The planners at Reading Borough Council saw heritage as a catalyst for social change in the city centre. Through their vision, the Reading Abbey ruins and Gateway have been transformed into the Abbey Quarter – now a thriving heritage quarter and landmark for locals and tourists alike. Planners will continue to reinvigorate places through heritage and culture.”
Cllr Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport, said: “I’m delighted by this well-deserved planning accolade for the Reading Abbey Quarter Project. In the Abbey Quarter, Reading boasts a site of national significance which has now been preserved for future generations to appreciate.
“This project is an excellent example of an ambitious planning vision for heritage and culture made reality. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all those involved in making this award winning project a success.”
The winners of this year’s RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence 2018 were announced on 22nd November at the historic Brighton Pavilion. For more information on the awards, visit: www.rtpi.org.uk/the-rtpi-near-you/rtpi-south-east/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 Heritage Lottery 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.
About the Heritage Lottery 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.hlf.org.uk