Planning Update January 2024
Reading Borough Council
Forbury Retail Park (Forbury Gardens Grade II):
The Retail Park lies on Forbury Road, opposite the Forbury Gardens, the Grade II listed Reading Prison and the Grade I listed Abbey grounds. We were first consulted by Reading Borough on the Scoping Report for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to redevelop the site (currently low rise and low density) for mixed housing and commercial uses. Although there would be no direct impact on the Registered Park, we advised that care should be taken to avoid adverse effects on views out from the gardens and on the setting of the Grade II listed medieval Plummery Wall along Forbury Road. We later objected as no thorough Hertiage impact Assessment was submitted and the development would result in harm to these important Reading assets. For those not familiar with the term Plummery it is a dwarf wall of mixed flint and random rubble and brick.
Reading Retail Park outlined in red. Forbury Gardens (hatched), Reading Abbey and Reading Prison (all shaded purple) and a number of listed structures to the south -west
Caversham Park, Reading (Caversham Park Grade II):
This application for redevelopment of Caversham Park (for 64 assisted living units for the over 55’s through the conversion of Caversham Park House, 64 bed care home, 61 age-restricted retirement dwellings, including conversion of the existing buildings Bursars House, The Lodge and 2 Caversham Park Drive, 5 market dwellings, 28 affordable dwellings, and refurbishment and extension of the existing pavilion) is still undecided (at the time of writing). Revised plans were submitted in 2023 and we were invited to tour the site and discuss the plans in November. We have contributed to significant improvements to the scheme but we still have concerns about the scale of the care home in close proximity to the Mansion, the historic temple and terrace walk within the Registered Park and Garden.
Local Plan Partial Update Consultation on Scope and Content:
This document sets out the future aspirations for the Borough. We were pleased to see that no major development or changes would directly affect Reading’s historic parks and gardens. We urged the Council to consider drawing up a list of parks and gardens to add to the list of non-designated buildings and structures.