Artist's impression Station Hill
Station Hill "a disgrace"
By Linda Serck
With the Station Hill area of Reading given the green light for redevelopment, we speak to the man behind the plans - Reading FC boss and local luminary John Madesjki. You can also see a gallery of artist's impressions for Station Hill below.
See images of how Reading's Station Hill area could look here:
"When people come to Reading in the future when these buildings are built they're going to come out of the station, look down Station Hill and think 'wow, this must be some place I've arrived at'. Whereas now they come out and go 'oh my God, what the heck have I come to?'."
John Madejski, the man behind the Station Hill revamp plans, has a point.
Greetings from Reading
Walking out of Reading station you come suddenly face-to-face with a concrete wasteland of dilapidated and dirty buildings.
It's why Reading ranks high in Crap Towns - a book on the 50 worst places to live in the UK, and why an ironic Reading greeting card displays such monstrosities as the boarded-up bus station nearby.
"It's a disgrace," says Mr Madejski, Reading FC boss and town luminary, "it's not a very good look for a town that is emerging quite quickly as a very important part of the United Kingdom."
The approved plans are for a complex of six new skyscrapers featuring offices, shops, cafes, restaurants and apartments as well as an arts venue and new public areas.
Madejski in bullish mood
The tallest building will stand at about 120 metres (394ft).
Despite reservations from bodies such as the Commission For Architecture And The Built Environment (Cabe), which cited the proposals as "over-development" and that the designs were "insensitive" to the surrounding area, the controversial plans were rubber-stamped by Reading borough council's planning committee on Wednesday (5 March 2008).
"You say controversial plans," says Mr Madejski, "I was in the council chamber and all I heard was positive things from all the councillors and it was unanimously approved."
Station Hill design - see more pics in the gallery
Mr Madejski spent £28 million on the site in 2005 and says the plans have the "wow factor".
But what about the extra offices planned? Doesn't Reading have enough?
"It's pretty well recognised that there is still an enormous amount of growth still left in the local area for offices in the future," says Mr Madejski.
"But we're not talking about tomorrow, the whole scheme is going to take about ten years to complete, and things will be very much different in ten years time than they are today."
To see exactly how different, see the photo gallery of artist's impressions:
See the BBC News Online story on the Station Hill area revamp here:
last updated: 07/03/2008 at 13:28
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