It’s perhaps as well that our story on the proposed drone superhighway didn’t go online last Friday as first intended.

Putting that story up on April Fools’ Day would have doubtless caused many to discard what is hopefully a big step forward.

And it’s a reminder that many knowledge-intense businesses in the region will shape the future. In discussion with Altitude Angel, we learned that drone deliveries are unlikely to occur in the way some have imagined. Amazon won’t be delivering parcels to your door by drone.

They will deliver to specific locations via specific routes (or highways) for collection, although there are already hospital-to-hospital routes being worked out.

A key advantage has to be a reduction in journeys by delivery vans and we have already spoken to one developer which is considering creating roof space on a future scheme for drone deliveries.

Since drones are electric vehicles, this should be a welcome development for those pushing hardest for sustainability. The move to get vehicles off the road has been going on for a long time and anyone who has driven through Reading in recent weeks will know what a disaster the place becomes when roadworks take place in a key spot.

Those demanding better air quality will surely see their aim achieved. The crazy demand for land for industrial schemes could even be eased.

A drone superhighway on our patch is one of the most exciting developments in recent times. You would hope to hear more support for it from those who campaign for the very advantages it will bring.


Members of Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee were warned of the dark clouds coming when they were presented with Hermes’ plans for the Reading Metropolitan scheme.

Few could argue that Barry Kitcherside’s warning about rising costs, including the cost of money, were genuine and that the developer needs to crack on with this scheme.

Even so, there remains a risk. Only last week, we referred yet again to the Bristol & West Arcade where a comprehensive scheme was abandoned in the financial crash of 2007/8 and the site has been an eyesore since.

Let’s hope we don’t end up waiting another 15 years for something to happen to the long-abandoned Royal Mail depot. The committee’s unanimous support is at least one positive move.

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