New homes, jobs and a world-class convention centre for ReadingRFC Prop Co Ltd, a partly-owned subsidiary of Reading Football Club, has submitted a planning application to Reading Borough Council for its Royal Elm Park proposal – an exceptional mixed-use development with the Madejski Stadium at its heart.
The development will deliver a world-class convention centre, hundreds of new homes, significant new public space, an exciting mix of high-quality retail and leisure – including a hotel – all of which will be supported by a number of considered transport measures and substantial investment in public transport on both match and non-match days.
The proposed convention centre, to be known as The International, will enable Reading to compete on a world stage, hosting a range of events from business conventions to live entertainment - with regional, national and international reach. It is sure to be a catalyst for growth in Reading and Berkshire, bringing together year-round business and cultural events for the benefit of local people and the economy, with capacity to accommodate 6,000 delegates. The convention centre will also include an ice rink which will be suitable for leisure use and competitive sport.
Royal Elm Park will also deliver over 600 new homes for Reading. A mix of one, two and three bedroom homes will provide much needed new housing with dedicated resident parking, generous landscaping and will help create a new community with Madejski Stadium at its heart.
The proposed development comprises over 18,000sq m of new public open space. A new public square of 8,000sq m will form a focal point for residents and football fans, and will include over 2,000sq m of new retail, leisure and restaurant facilities. Beyond creating a new destination for local people and greatly enhancing the match-day experience for football fans, Royal Elm Park will bring over 1,000 new jobs to the area once completed.
In addition, a new, publicly accessible linear park of more than 10,000sq m – comparable to approximately one and a half football pitches – will establish a green ribbon as part of the development. Bordered by the residential homes, the park will feature generous tree planting, wildflower meadows and children’s play areas.
Nigel Howe, Chief Executive of Reading Football Club, commented: “Royal Elm Park is a unique opportunity for Reading to deliver a world-class convention centre that will put the town on the map and enable us to compete on a world stage. It will also benefit the football club and will be important for Reading’s future growth, attracting national and international investment and offering tangible benefits for local people with new homes, jobs and an improved match-day experience.”
Kim Cohen, Partner at Barton Willmore, comment: “We are extremely proud to be part of this local flagship scheme that will not only bring considerable benefits to South Reading but also to the Thames Valley as a whole. South Reading is a focus for growth and regeneration within the Council's planning policy framework and this new mixed-use development has undeniable potential to contribute significantly, both socially and economically, to the enhancement of this area whilst also fully aligning with the objectives of both national and local planning policy.”