While numerous possibilities around Reading’s Minster Quarter regeneration site catch the eye, two smaller schemes go before planners this week which, in their own way, are just as significant.

Mayfair Capital plans to demolish Brunel Retail Park and replace it with two industrial units while Thackeray Estates wants to create an intriguing market square concept in Reading town centre.

The Mayfair scheme is a stark example of the direction of travel for retail. It’s a reasonably safe bet that those industrial units will be warehouses for online orders. The move towards online, rather than physical, shopping could not be more clearly illustrated.

It also begs an interesting question of what the effect will be on the roads. How does having fewer shopping trips compare with increased numbers of delivery vans?

Thackeray Estates’ plans look very much like the quirky, mixed-use developments town centres have been crying out for. And, given the relatively modest size, it needn’t take too long to become reality.

Both schemes have been recommended for approval at the Wednesday, June 23 meeting of Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee and, should they both gain consent, this looks like two significant steps into the future.

The net result of losing an out-of-town retail park for warehouses and gaining a rejuvenated town centre space, on top of the huge possibilities around the Minster Quarter/Broad Street Mall, do suggest that the town centres we were told were dying a death, may have more of a future than anyone dared hope a few years ago.

© Thames Tap (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).

Sign up to receive your free weekly Thames Tap newsletter here.