McLaren picked for £250m Reading regeneration

An early artists impression of the proposed development – all designs remain subject to the planning process

The council-led scheme will see the construction of housing, commercial facilities and a new town centre square.

Plans show more than 600 new homes, 40,000 sqm of new commercial space including new workspace, retail, food and beverage, and a 102-bed hotel.

Public realm work includes a new Hexagon Square as a civic space providing a gateway to the town’s Hexagon Theatre and new Studio Theatre.

The 5.2-acre site, in the centre of Reading, was formerly occupied by the Civic Centre.

The £250m Minster Quarter Central development is part of a wider Minster Quarter Regeneration Area, which has the potential to deliver 1,200 homes. Over the next decade, neighbouring landowners plan to bring forward a series of schemes, the council said. These include the redevelopment of Thames Valley Police Station, Broad Street Mall, Magistrates Court investment and the council’s own plans to create a cultural campus with the Hexagon Theatre and Studio Theatre extension, made possible through Levelling Up Fund funding.

Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock said: “The regeneration of the Minster Quarter represents an unprecedented opportunity to deliver one of the best located mixed-use development opportunities in the UK, right in the heart of Reading town centre.

“Our key aims throughout have been to secure desperately needed affordable housing for Reading, high quality public realm and a net zero development, in line with our wider net-zero ambitions. The preferred bidder has come forward with hugely exciting proposals which tick all of these important boxes and more, including more family-sized homes which we know are in short supply in Reading, a brand new civic space as a gateway to a revitalised Hexagon Theatre, which will contribute to its growth as a destination for arts and culture, a new community hub and, through our commitment to social value, around 100 new local jobs post construction.

“The council has secured this landmark £250m investment in economic, environmental and community benefits for the local population. This council’s ethos is to ensure everybody in Reading can benefit from the town’s undoubted success and the Minster Quarter Central project is the perfect example of how that can be achieved.

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“We have sought to secure a prospective partner in McLaren Living who understand and share the council’s vision for the site, with a strong commitment to social value and experience of working successfully in partnership to achieve outstanding quality development, and with the potential to create a landmark destination. I look forward to seeing these exciting plans come to fruition over the coming years.”

McLaren Living managing director Matthew Biddle said: “Our ambition is to create a new mixed-use neighbourhood which transforms this historic part of the town, bringing new public realm, much-needed new homes, high-quality employment space and enhances the Hexagon Theatre.

“We already have a strong presence in the area, and we are committed to working with local stakeholders to deliver a new community for all and enhance the great town of Reading.”

Last year Reading Borough Council agreed a strategic vision for Minster Quarter Central. Bidders submitted detailed schemes which were subject to rigorous evaluation and competitive negotiation. Following this process, McLaren Living was agreed as the Council’s development partner at a Policy Committee meeting in January.

McLaren Living and Reading Borough Council will now undertake a consultation process with local people and other interested parties.

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