A £19.1 million grant has ensured Reading’s Hexagon Theatre will be extended and refurbished while a new public library will be built.

Reading Borough Council is one of a number to be awarded the money as part of the Government’s Levelling Up funding pot, announced on Wednesday, January 18.

The award comprises:

  • Around £8m to rebuild the Central Library at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street.
  • Around £12m for a flexible new space at the Hexagon called HexBox for performances and community uses and new access.

Council leader, Cllr Jason Brock, said: “This is incredible news for Reading and once again confirms the council’s strong track record of successfully attracting external investment to benefit local residents and our ability to deliver against investment.

“The Hexagon Theatre and Central Library are much-cherished and well-established institutions, both in Reading and across the wider region, but they also come with limitations. Our successful bid now offers us a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform both and breathe new life into services, while also supercharging our broader plans for redevelopment of the Minster Quarter.

“The funding will be used to build a brand new and additional flexible performance and community space at the Hexagon Theatre. We will also provide a modern new Reading Central Library at the Civic Offices site on Bridge Street. Importantly, both projects will also enable us to ensure much-improved accessibility so that everyone can use and enjoy the facilities.

“This already promises to be a landmark year for Reading, with modern new swimming pools and leisure facilities opening, new and refurbished train stations, new affordable homes and major investments in cycling infrastructure and in local bus services. Today’s announcement will now allow us to build on that progress and fits with this Council’s ambition to create new opportunities for everybody in the town.”

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