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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 08:11 GMT
Watchdog slams skyscraper plans
Station Hill development
The proposed complex includes 'landmark' buildings
A plan by the boss of Reading football club to revamp part of the town with a skyscraper development has been criticised by a design watchdog.

Reading's Station Hill has been called the gateway to the town but in recent years it has fallen into disrepair.

Reading boss John Madejski paid nearly 28m for the site in 2005.

But the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) said it had "significant reservations" about the scale of the project.

The proposed complex will include six new skyscrapers built opposite the main entrance to the station, comprising of offices, shops, cafes, restaurants and flats, as well as an arts venue and new public areas.

In submissions to Reading's planning applications committee, Cabe said the proposal was "over-development" and "insensitive" to the surrounding area.

Among its criticisms, it said: "Cabe is not convinced that sustainability has been designed into the scheme."

It added the development should "demonstrate a more positive contribution to the public realm".

'Terribly exciting'

English Heritage also has strong reservations about the development, which will see the tallest building standing at about 120 metres (394ft).

Network Rail also told the council the development would lead to an increased use in the railway station, which it said already had capacity problems.

The firm suggests money should be allocated to improve the number of passengers the station can accommodate.

Last month, as plans for the development went on show, Mr Madejski said: "Putting it bluntly, you cannot have landmark buildings without seeing them, it's just impossible."

"What I think we've got is something for the future, something terribly exciting and something that I certainly commend to the people of the Reading area."

People have had until 5 March to put forward their views to Reading Borough Council's planning committee.

Town skyscraper plan go on show
24 Jan 08 |  Berkshire
Views wanted on town centre plans
20 May 06 |  Berkshire

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