Existing Context

The Site

The site is located at 35-39 Friar Street in Reading town centre. Located between the railway station to the North, Broad Street and The Oracle to the South. The site occupies a visible location along the North-South route that will redefine pedestrian and non-vehicular movement through Reading in the near future.

The site neighbours the emerging Station Hill development to the immediate West and is within a 5 minute walking distance of Reading train station.

Emerging Context

Station Hill

Station Hill is a transformational development for
Reading and the Thames Valley, a new centre of activity
creating a connected live-work-play experience.
Redevelopment is finally under way and once
complete will provide a truly mixed-use, sustainable
development for the benefit of all. The mix of uses
across the project offers new homes, assisted living
accommodation, a hotel and flexible high-tech
office space delivered as world class commercial
buildings. The public realm in and around the site
will be activated by restaurants, retail, food halls,
community and leisure spaces designed to act
as the framework for a holistic experience where
people will live, work, play and relax.

Friars Walk

Friars Walk delivers an intimate retail thoroughfare
with independent retailers, local heroes and
carefully selected anchor brands, creating a new
and distinct retail experience for Reading. Human
scale, domestic shops create a calm and pleasant
place to browse and relax. Station Hill Plaza and
Friars Walk will become the preferred choice of
pedestrian route through Reading town centre.

Planning Context

The Reading Borough Local Plan Proposals Map (RBLP) (adopted November 2019) identifies the site as falling within the Reading Central Area and office core (CR1) and the Station/ River Major Opportunity Area (CR11) where the site specifically falls within the wider Friar Street and Station Road sub area (CR11a) (in total this sub area comprises 1.36 ha) within which the Council seeks:

“…active retail and leisure uses on the ground floor along Friar Street and Station Road, with a mix of uses on higher floors. Development should enhance linkages in a north-south direction to link to the Station Hill area. Listed buildings and their settings in the area will be conserved, and opportunities to improve the environment of Merchants Place will be sought”.

Overall the indicative potential for the wider sub area is stated (RBLP, pg. 146) as 150-270 dwellings, offices, retail and leisure (with no significant net gain assumed). The proposals map also identifies the site as being in an Air Quality Management Area (EN15) and Area of Archaeological Potential (EN2). The site falls just outside the Station Area Tall Building Cluster (CR10)