A community venue space next to Reading rail station
will be part of Sir John Madejski’s £400m Station Hill 2 development, approved
last week by the borough council.
Sir John’s development company, Sackville, says the
project will create “a destination in its own right”.
Sackville’s development director Jon Homan tells
conference-news the arts and
community centre part of the project will add around 21,500 square feet of
flexible use venue space. The central public piazza is designed as a tiered
amphitheatre and complete with performance space. Work could begin in 2011 with
the first phase completed by 2014.
“Initially conceived as a performance area with fold
away seating, it could be used also for a variety of functions, including
conferences and exhibitions,” adds Homan. “What we want to achieve is a vibrant
and busy arts centre with activities going on seven days a week and most of the
day and evening.”
The scheme slots in with the station redevelopment,
which should see tall new buildings set round a public square. The plans include
flats, offices, shops and new entertainment facilities.
Cllr. Isobel Ballsdon had called the current Station
Hill area “an embarrassment to the town” with its regeneration “long
Both schemes total more than £1bn of investment in
the council hopes “will cement its place as the regional economic hub and pave
the way for city status”.