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24 September 2014

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You are in: Berkshire > Features > Events > Station Hill "a disgrace"

Artist's impression

Artist's impression Station Hill

Station Hill "a disgrace"

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

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.

John Madejski

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."

Artist's impression of Reading

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
created: 07/03/2008

Have Your Say

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Richard Ashley
And where will everyone park? I suppose reading can take a few more cars, it's not as if we have traffic problems or anything! Tall imposing sterile office blocks - how original. Reading is one of - if not the most affluent place in the UK. What we need is something more distiguishing. How about some nice independant retail shops, independant bars/pubs and a decent live venue and arts space? Not enough £/square foot i expect...

Of course Reading councillors were "unanimous" in their praise and support - do we trust the developer to accurately report on the progress of his plans? what alternative means of financing the necessary redevelopment are there?

I think its about time that Reading looked more like a city. Well done to Mr Madejski for having put time and money into Reading. It will add some much needed class to the area.

Richard Green
I think it is a disgrace that Reading is in thrall to Madejski - school, football team, university - and now the town centre. A design completely out of keeping with Reading's urban history but completely in step with the council's willingness to sell anything to the highest bidder.

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