Few sites in Reading illustrate the speed of change more than Great Brighams Mead.
For those of us who remember the Zanussi/Microsoft building before it – and the Excel bowling alley before that – to see Great Brighams Mead potentially given a radical new look, little more than 20 years after it was built, you realise quite how fast the property world is moving.
But the new look – if it comes about – will probably be the best the site has looked in living memory for most of us. And, given that the scheme is modest in size, it has to be hoped that the development can go through the planning process at a reasonable speed.
It wasn’t long after Great Brighams Mead was first developed that the first plans for Station Hill were being drawn up.
The snail’s pace of change there may be in sharp contrast to that of Great Brighams Mead but, as the Lincoln MGT images show, this, too, is oozing in good design and quality.
The reception at One Station Hill represents a fantastic gateway to those arriving by rail.
The ‘best-in-class’ reference has been made by Lincoln many times but, thanks to the new images, we can see what they mean. What building in the Thames Valley can offer such a sense of arrival?
Similarly, the newly-consented hotel to replace the Bristol & West Arcade looks a stylish and quality design. The Thackeray Estates’ planned market courtyard in Queen Victoria Street is another excellent scheme. Both it and the hotel involve listed building restoration as well.
When you look at the blandness of most retail buildings in Reading (Waterstones being the major exception), as well as the lack of boldness on the design of many of the modern hotels and offices, these future developments would seem to offer a welcome trend.
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