There are several reasons driving the need for scheme change, which are as set out below. More detail on each matter is set out on sub-pages within this section.
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There are a number of inherent flaws with the consented scheme, leading to a number of technical and commercial changes in respect of deliverability. Allied with this, changing planning policy and Building Regulations have necessitated further scheme change. The key changes required to the scheme relate to:
- Deliverability – The consented residential structures were proposed to be threaded through the existing shopping centre and car park ramp, which has been determined not feasible
- Apartment design – changes in planning policy now require apartments to be built to Nationally Described Space Standards (NDSS)
- Fire Safety – changes to Building Regulations now require dual stair cores within each tall building
- Affordable Housing – the consented residential scheme provided affordable housing via a separate ‘poor block’ facing Oxford Road
- Massing – The consented residential structures were all set above the existing concrete car park façade, which was proposed to be retained
- Amenity – the consented residential scheme had inadequate internal and external spaces for residents’ use.
- Layout – one of the consented residential towers was offset from the primary building line to align with its core through the existing car park ramp
- Planning Policy - The Government imposed a 35% uplift on housing numbers on twenty urban authorities in 2021, including Reading, which will require more considered use of land and buildings to achieve
- Emerging Minster Quarter proposals – an Outline Area Development Framework for the area directly to the south of Broad Street Mall was adopted in December 2018. A bidding process has been subsequently commenced with a preferred partner likely to be announced prior to the end of the year.