Crowne Plaza proposes budget hotel next door

Reading Borough Council has received an application which could see a 132-room budget hotel built near the River Thames, in the car park of the Crowne Plaza.

It would be a five-storey building with a reception area, a café/restaurant, meeting rooms and a small gym on the ground floor.

If permitted, the development would see a reduction in the hotel’s existing 200 space car park to 119 spaces. The developer also states it will provide 33 new trees in the plan – a net gain of 17, and claims that there is a relatively low risk of flooding on the site.

Reading Borough Council is holding a consultation into the plans, which can be viewed and commented on at planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=181056.

Have your say: proposed flood defences for the Thames

Floods have been close to our area a few times in recent years, most notably in 2014 and 2003 when the Thames path was under water for a time and homes in low lying areas of Caversham were in danger of flooding.

The Environment Agency is investigating how to reduce flooding from the River Thames in north Reading and Lower Caversham. A number of options have been identified, all of which need further investigation to decide which, if any, could be taken forward. One of these options includes extra flood defences on the south bank of the Thames that might reduce flooding in our area.

The Environment Agency would like to hear your views on the options they have been investigating as well as general feedback to help make sure they have considered all possible options before developing a design.

Full details and the online consultation are at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/thames/reading-and-caversham-flood-reduction-options/. The deadline for responses is Thursday 26 July 2018.

Traffic committee supports road closures

Reading Borough Council’s traffic committee has voted to support the closure of Milford and Meadow Roads to through traffic near the junction of the two roads. The council’s informal consultation yielded 74 forms from residents in favour of closure, with 20 against.

The closure would stop through traffic between the area and the industrial estate. The Bell Tower Community Association has been working with the council for some years on this and supports the closure, which would stop rat-running through the area. Drivers are more likely to use the area as a short cut when the Cow Lane bridges are fully open in early 2019 so we are hoping to prevent this.

The proposal to close the roads will now go through the formal consultation process. At this stage no decision has been made on whether the width restrictions in the area will be kept or not.

Fun for all: Newport Road street party 2018

Saturday 16 June 2018 – another great street party! We were worried about the weather this year so the gazebos were out, but fortunately it stayed dry, if a bit cool and breezy. Splat the Rat was back, along with Readipop’s drumming workshop. We had live entertainment from the New Hope Gospel Choir and a reformed version of the Bell Tower Shower with some rock covers. New for this year was a Reformer Pilates demonstration from Refresh Health in Caversham Road, who brought one of their machines for us to try, and the fire brigade came along with one of their engines for the children to take a look at (and climb over, of course!) This year’s quiz was set by David and hosted by Jonathan again and featured local knowledge, with prizes provided by the Standard Tandoori. Many thanks to everyone who helped and the residents of Newport Road for hosting. And special thanks to everyone at New Hope for organising the children’s activities, and to the Moderation for the delicious free barbecue food.

School proposal for Richfield Avenue

Reading Borough Council has proposed Richfield Avenue as the preferred location for a new secondary school in Reading, with the proposal set to be considered at a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee on 11 June.

The council has been considering possible locations for a new 6-form entry secondary school needed to cope with the growth in demand for school places in the town. Current estimates are that by 2025/26 an additional 1,000 new secondary school places will be needed in Reading.

Following the exercise, land at Richfield Avenue – west of Rivermead Leisure Centre and bordering Thameside Promenade – has been chosen as the preferred site for the new 900-place free school. If this goes ahead it would open in September 2021.

The site comprises a former golf driving range and open land bordering Richfield Avenue. The land had previously been earmarked for a new outdoor activity and education centre, including a high ropes facility. This will now not go forward.

A school in Richfield Avenue would mean that proposals for a traveller site on nearby land next to Cow Lane will not go ahead.

Cox & Wyman development plans approved

The proposal to demolish the former Cox & Wyman works and build a new housing estate on the corner of Cardiff Road and Addison Road was approved by the council’s planning applications committee on 30 May.

The Bell Tower Community Association has broadly supported the application, with some suggestions for improvements relating to access and design. In particular, the association would have preferred access via Meadow Road rather than Addison Road, but it was explained that this would not be feasible with a large industrial unit opposite the development.

At this stage the timetable for the development is not known, but demolition of the old printing works is unlikely to start before the autumn because of the presence of nesting swifts on the site.

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