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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 08:03 GMT
Skyscraper plans given go-ahead
Station Hill development
The proposed complex includes 'landmark' buildings
Controversial plans to revamp part of the town with a skyscraper development proposed by the boss of Reading football club have been approved.

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

On Wednesday, the borough council's planning committee approved John Madejski's plans to redevelop the area and build six new tower blocks.

He bought the site for 28m in 2005 but his plan was slammed by architects.

But following recommendation by officers, the council's planning committee voted unanimously, across all parties, to grant consent for the development.

Jon Homan, director of Sackville Developments said: "We have worked closely with Reading Borough Council during the design phase and are delighted that the planning committee has agreed that this is the appropriate development for this key location.

"Station Hill's redevelopment will be central to Reading's business, residential, cultural and retail renaissance."

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

Station Hill
The planning brief is for the land between Station Hill and Friar Street

The design watchdog said the proposal was "over-development" and "insensitive" to the surrounding area.

The new 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.

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

Network Rail has 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."

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

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