The long-running saga over Reading’s Bristol & West Arcade looks set to continue after its sale to a mystery buyer.

Sonic Star Properties put the site up for auction which was due take place on December 13 but it was sold prior to the auction.

Sonic Star won planning permission in July to turn the site, which includes 173-175 Friar Street and 27-32 Market Place, into a 182-room hotel along with eight flats and ground floor retail and leisure uses.

Thames Tap enquiries have yet to lead us to who the new owner is but an operator for the hotel has withdrawn.

Hicks Baker retail director Fiona Brownfoot said: “The future of this site continues on its chequered progress following the successful grant of a new planning consent.

“But, as a result of the economic situation, the previously agreed pre-let to a hotel operator has aborted and, therefore, an end user for the site will need to be secured before development work commences.

“Hopefully, the purchaser has firm plans to progress with the redevelopment of the site so that we will see construction works during the course of 2022.”

The latest planning permission is the third scheme planned for the site in relatively recent years.

Before the 2008 financial crash, work had begun on a Brook Henderson plan for shops with 14 flats above but stopped during the crisis. There were alterations approved to those plans but the scheme never restarted.

In 2019, Sonic Star Properties won consent for retail, a pub, offices and 43 apartments but little interest was found for either the retail or the offices. That permission expires in January.

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