Green light for Royal Elm Park

by Marco Cillario Wed 31 May 2017, 10:55 am

A 28,000sq m convention centre and more than 600 homes are to be built next to Reading Football Club’s Madejski Stadium, after approval was given to the £500 million Royal Elm Park scheme.

Reading Council granted permission for the development on a 15.5-ha site, subject to conditions, on 27 April.

The scheme will include more than 18,000sq m of new public space, as well as 2,000sq m of retail, leisure, restaurant and hotel space. A “substantial” investment in public transport was also announced.

Known as The International,the new convention centre will become the largest dedicated conference venue in the south of England, with a capacity to accommodate 6,000 delegates.

The centre will also host a range of events, concerts and community activities, and will include an ice rink, available for both leisure use and competitive sport.

The 600 new properties will be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes.

A new public park of 10,000sq m and a square of 8,000sq m will also be provided, along with a multi-storey car park with 616 spaces and a 246-bed hotel including 104 serviced apartments.

Once completed, the scheme will create more than 1,000 jobs, with another 1,000 positions during construction.

A station could also be created at nearby Green Park.

Nigel Howe, chief executive of Reading Football Club, who is heading a team of consultants leading on the plans, said the project was “a huge boost for Reading”.

“It will deliver a step change in the city’s ability to host international, large-scale conferences and events, which the business community here has long sought,” he added. 

“But the scheme delivers more than that.  It delivers a new and reinvigorated destination for businesses and the Reading community, and will significantly enhance the match-day experience for our supporters, the driving force behind the club’s success. 

“Royal Elm Park is emblematic of the city’s vision for the future, and will play a significant role in driving new and enhanced inward investment, which will underpin the regional economy going forward.”

Barton Willmore, Peter Brett Associates and NRY Architects were part of the team of consultants. 

The scheme will now progress to the final stages of the planning process.  Subject to completing the final planning requirements, construction is planned to start in early 2018, with The International operational in 2020.  Final completion is expected in 2023.

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