Newport Road street party 2023

Saturday 3 June 2023 – another great Bell Tower street party in Newport Road. This year’s party was attended by the newly-elected mayor, Councillor Tony Page, who presented the prize to the winning quiz team. There were plenty of activities for the kids, including Splat the Rat, colouring and cupcake decorating and table football. The weather was just about perfect, if a little breezy as usual. Local DJ Burt was back spinning some great party sounds, and we had live music from covers band Jamboozled (you might spot one or two familiar faces there!) Andy and the team from the Moderation were back with Thai curry dishes. Many thanks to Andy and the Mod team for the fantastic free food, everyone who helped and New Hope and the residents of Newport Road for their support. We’re looking forward to next year’s party!

Band photo courtesy of Claire Thatcher.


Plans for Carters site revealed

After several months of waiting it has finally been revealed that Bellway Homes is the purchaser of the Carters site in Caversham Road. Bellway has just submitted a planning application to Reading Borough Council detailing proposals for the site.

The application is for a mix of houses and flats totalling 60 in all, with 30% (18) of the dwellings being ‘affordable’ (20% below market rates or the option of shared purchase) – so in a way similar to a scaled down version of the Printworks development on the former Cox & Wyman site. First impressions are that the quality of the design looks decent with reservations about how the Caversham Road frontage will fit with the townscape and questions about whether at least part of the existing Victorian facades could be retained. We are also unsure about the safety of the proposed entrance from Caversham Road, which is on the inside of a bend.

The full planning application can be viewed and comments submitted at

(Photo: Bellway Homes)

Our Heritage Open Days walks are back

Our area has lots of fascinating history, and this year we are organising heritage walks around our area again in September as part of Heritage Open Days. The walks will take place on 11 and 12 September and will last about 90 minutes.

Entitled ‘Caversham Road: An area shaped by Victorian aesthetics and innovation’, the walk will take in much of the area’s Victorian industry, showing signs of what remains and pictures of local scenes from the era. We’ll also be looking at some of the original Victorian architectural features that survive to this day.

Further details and booking at Please note that places will be limited to 10 per walk so prior booking will be required.

These walks get booked up quickly. We are still keen to offer another opportunity to local people that were unable to get on to one of the Heritage Open Days walks – if you are interested please email

We’ve also made the walk into a 20 minute documentary – you can watch this here:

Newport Road Jubilee street party 2022

Saturday 4 June 2022 – another successful Bell Tower street party in Newport Road. This year’s party was during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration weekend, and featured a Jubilee themed quiz and red, white and blue cupcake decorating fun for the kids. The weather forecast wasn’t very promising but it turned out sunny and pleasantly warm. Local DJ Burt was back spinning some great party sounds, and had everyone dancing in the street to some great funk and disco tunes. Andy and the team from the Moderation were back, this time with their wood-fired pizza oven. Many thanks to Andy and the Mod team for the fantastic free pizzas, everyone who helped and New Hope and the residents of Newport Road for their support. We’re looking forward to next year’s party already!

Bowling alley proposal for Caversham Road shop

The company Bowl Central is planning to take over the former Dawsons music shop at 65 Caversham Road, which closed last year, and convert it into a bowling alley and family entertainment complex. The facility would have seven bowling lanes, three interactive dart boards, shuffleboards and a children’s ‘redemption’ games area. The plan is to sell food as well, including pizzas, panini and salads.

Ahead of taking over the old Dawsons unit, Bowl Central’s owning company KTO Ltd has submitted a licensing application for the bar that will be located inside. The company has applied to sell alcohol and food and play music on site from 10am to midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and 10am to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Since this article was published we have met the developer, who has offered to amend the licence application to change the closing time to 11pm weekdays and midnight at weekends. Our feeling is that this is a reasonable compromise, and if the application is amended we are happy to withdraw our objections. If you have any views please email us at

Planning permission granted for post office development

Planning application 182252 for 620 flats and townhouses with office and other space on the former Post Office site in Caversham Road has been approved by the council. This is an outline planning application to establish the principle of the development, so there is scope for further negotiation of the details (known as ‘reserved matters’).

David Neale from the Bell Tower Community Association spoke at the council’s planning committee in opposition to the application, expressing concerns about the scale of the development, particularly the 8-storey height proposed along Caversham Road and its impact on the local environment, including on the locally-listed Victorian malthouse that used to be occupied by Drews ironmongers. Concern was also expressed about the high density and lack of green space in the development leading to it being undesirable to live in, and whether the proposed office space was likely to be used.

After some discussion the planning committee eventually voted unanimously to approve the application. One factor that might have influenced this is the developer of the SSE site in Vastern Road recently making a successful appeal against refusal of their application, with councillors perhaps concerned that the owners of the post office site might also successfully appeal against refusal.

(Photo: Hermes Property)

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