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PRP wins approval for 765 homes at former biscuit factory

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AJ100 practice PRP has been given the go-ahead to build 765 new homes on a retail park in Reading, once home to the Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory 

The Kenavon Drive project will replace existing Toys ‘R’ Us and Homebase stores built after the famous Victorian factory complex was flattened in 1978.

The scheme next to the River Kennet is backed by developer London & Quadrant (L&Q) and forms part of its ambitious drive to build 100,000 homes over the next decade.

A mix of  ‘loft-style’ penthouses, flats, ground-floor duplexes and townhouses, the development will include 157 affordable homes ‘for local people’. It also features two new public squares and a linear park, as well as a restaurant, shops and ‘flexible employment space’.

According to the practice, the design will be constructed mainly from brick and includes ’a dynamic arrangement of saw-tooth roofs’ referencing the  industrial buildings that once stood on the site.

The use of historically inspired abstracted forms and techniques will create a contemporary architectural language that reflects the site’s manufacturing past as well as the character of neighbouring listed buildings in the area.

PRP’s landscape team has proposed a series of integrated streets and spaces for the scheme, that include a revitalised riverside promenade leading to a major new riverside square overlooking the River Kennet. The square features terraced seating, with new trees, lawns and fountains. Cafés and a restaurant will line the square, offering al fresco dining in a riverfront setting.

PRP director Craig Sheach said: ’We were inspired by Reading’s history, the site and L&Q’s aspirations for the project and have developed a design which we believe is deeply rooted in its place, drawing inspiration from the former site’s industrial character.

‘When delivered, the scheme will enhance the eastern quarter of Reading and provide residents and locals with a well-connected, walkable neighbourhood and a place to enjoy a leisurely moment by the water – something that doesn’t happen currently at this part of the river.’

Craig Luttman, regional managing director (counties) at L&Q, added: ‘We aren’t just building homes; we are investing heavily in local infrastructure and creating a new destination with ample community facilities, employment opportunities and an ecologically enhanced riverside walk to improve biodiversity.

We aren’t just building homes; we are investing heavily in local infrastructure and creating a new destination

‘We have committed to an ambitious house building plan which is complemented by our new regionalised structure, giving us the stability and resilience to ramp up delivery. The new structure is designed to deliver a pipeline which has increased sevenfold in the last five years. It is scalable to support further growth and to some extent mirrors the volume housebuilder model.’

The site falls within Reading Council’s Eastern Opportunity Area of the town’s Central Area Action Plan, which guides development through to 2026.

The Environment Agency had objected to the plans on the grounds that the development did not have a 10m ‘buffer zone’ between the development and the river.

Subject to approval by the Secretary of State, the 71,446m² scheme is due to start at the end of this year (2018).

1. landscape plan (c) prp

1. landscape plan (c) prp

Project data

Location: Reading
Type of project: Mixed-use residential
Client: L&Q
Architect: PRP
Landscape architect: PRP
Planning consultant: PRP
Model maker: PRP
Principal Designer: PRP
Structural / Civil engineer Peter Brett Associates
M&E consultant MLM
Lighting consultant MLM
EIA consultant Temple
Ecology and Biodiversity Biodiversity by Design
Heritage CGMS
Fire Consultant Hoare Lea
Start on site date: Tentatively late 2018
Gross internal floor area: 71,446m²

Model kenavon drive 2017 07 (23)

Model kenavon drive 2017 07 (23)

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