Grimshaw has won planning permission for its project to redevelop Reading rail station
The project – which features five new platforms, a new station bridge and new entrances – won planning permission despite CABE criticism of the masterplan.
Tony Walker of Network Rail said: ‘The council’s decision means we can press on with our plans for Reading and get started on work to improve the station next year.
‘It’s full steam ahead for the project now. We’ve already done a lot of preparatory work and we’re gearing up to complete enabling works for the scheme at Christmas this year.’
Work is expected to start on site early next year. The scheme is part of the wider redevelopment of Reading train station’s environs which will be considered at planning committee in the coming months.
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CABE criticises Grimshaw’s Reading Station masterplan
CABE has refused to back Grimshaw’s masterplan for the redevelopment of Reading station, Berkshire
The government’s design watchdog this month hit out at Grimshaw’s masterplan, claiming it would not deliver its expected regeneration benefits.
The £884 million project to improve station capacity and links between the town centre and River Thames will be delivered in two phases. BFLS has already landed planning permission (September 2009) for a first phase £25 million south entrance to the station.
The design review reads: ‘We do not think that the development will create a good quality link between the north and the south of the town and given our concern for the station entrances, will not result in the civic gateway intended.’
CABE design reviewers also noted that the dual station entrances were ‘confusing’ and that the project’s limited budget could see the quality of materials ‘deteriorate’.
A spokesperson for the client, Network Rail, said: ‘We’ve submitted plans for a modern, spacious station for Reading designed to cope with the anticipated doubling of passenger numbers by 2030. Our plans will substantially improve accessibility and improve links across the railway. Our scheme will combine with other development plans for the wider station area to transform this part of Reading, improving the public realm and built environment as well as transport links.
‘Our plans have been submitted to Reading Borough Council for their approval and we await their response.’
The redevelopment of the station’s northern approach is planned to compliment a £500 million revamp of areas to the south of the station. The Station Hill development could feature 2,500 new homes, 200,000m² of office space and 70,000m² of retail, leisure and other uses.