The vision is to create a destination development befitting Reading’s emerging cultural and economic status. The proposals include a retail offer comprising a market square together with new retail frontages to Queen Victoria Street and Friar Street. This new retail hub will provide small units for independent retailers, start-ups and pop-up eateries. The frontages of Queen Victoria Street and Friar Street will link directly through to the new market square behind.
The listed buildings on both Queen Victoria Street and Friar Street have been neglected over time and a series of unsympathetic additions and alterations have caused significant harm. Today the buildings are in serious need of repair and their existence relies on significant investment in the historic fabric. By putting the buildings back to use, this initial investment and ongoing maintenance can be secured, ensuring the buildings future.
It is acknowledged that town centres need to reinvent themselves to respond to the evolving demands of the market and societal changes. Part of this evolution is the desire for city living and the convenience of having access to life experiences. Aparthotels are the latest variation on this theme offering the services of a hotel with the comfort of an apartment. The upper floors of Queen Victoria Street and Friar Street offer a unique opportunity to create this accommodation in a heritage setting.
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