March 6, 2020

Moorgarth Group – the asset managers of Reading’s Broad Street Mall shopping centre – have gained planning consent for a major regeneration of the area.

Reading Borough Council approved the new mixed use development, which will consist of 1,500 sqm of retail space and residential accommodation of up to 422 units, at a planning meeting last night.

The redevelopment will consist of four residential towers varying in height from five to 20 stories, within and above the existing shopping centre.

The scheme, brought forward by planning consultants DP9 and architects Corstorphine Wright, will provide 42 much-needed affordable housing units.

The approval represents an important step forward in the rejuvenation of Broad Street Mall and the first phase of the regeneration of Hosier Street.

Moorgarth Group chief executive Tim Vaughan said: “I am absolutely delighted by the decision.

“I would like to thank the officers and councillors for their time and careful consideration on this.

“This is a very, very exciting and innovative scheme.

Gary Lewis, Moorgarth’s managing director, commented: “This will support the long-term future of the centre while at the same time act as a catalyst for future regeneration of the area.”

At the meeting, councillor Tony Page said: “This area of the town has become seriously run down and dilapidated.

“It had decayed and decayed to the point that when Moorgarth, bravely I think, took this on it was in desperate need of revival.

“We have seen a number of planning applications that indicate a commitment on behalf of the applicant to their part of this smaller Minster Quarter area.”

He added: “This is a start of the major regeneration that we aspire to.”

At ground floor the existing retail floor space will be reconfigured to form four retail units

Moorgarth acquired the shopping centre and adjoining office building, Fountain House, in 2015 before starting a full refurbishment in 2016.

In July 2019, detailed planning consent was granted for a 101-bedroom Premier Inn hotel with a 150-cover Bar+Block steakhouse below at Hosier Street.

Several key retailers have also committed their long-term future to the centre in the past 18 months including TK Maxx, New Look, Poundland and Iceland who relocated from Weldale Street in the town centre in October 2018 and signed a 10-year lease on a new 9,000 sq ft store.

Meanwhile, the former Argos store has been reconfigured and will incorporate a new boutique cinema and other leisure uses and in addition, Moorgarth recently gained permission for a new food hall concept at the southern side of the centre.

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