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Minster Quarter (Reading) Urban Design Framework

In late 2016 we were appointed by Reading Borough Council to consider a design framework for the redevelopment of the significant former civic offices site, plus adjacent retail and police/magistrates courts.

Initial aspirations of the client were for an uplift of 1,300 new homes in the area, a number of tall buildings in accordance with the adopted Tall Buildings Strategy (part-authored by team members from Urban Place Lab), and improvements to the public realm.

Adjacent to the site sites the Grade 1 listed Minster of St. Mary, arguably Reading’s finest and most significant building. The Urban Place Lab team worked to persuade the client at a political and policy level, to incorporate this building and its generous environs into the development framework, affording the reinterpretation of this structure as part of a comprehensive masterplan, along with a re-invented open space, surrounded by some the best surviving medieval frontages in the town.

As a consequence, a more generous masterplan has been created, with more space and room for existing and new residents, and a re-prioritisation of the best buildings in the town within the best setting. The strategy was adopted by the Council in late 2018.

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