Plans to add 600 flats to Broad Street Mall submitted

The Broad Street Mall has long been one of the focal points of the town centre, with stores and eateries continuing to attract shoppers.

But the high-footfall centre is set to undergo a major transformation as its owners want to build rental homes for people contained within three towers on the mall site.

The Mall has been subject to plans to add apartment towers for years, with an initial project to add 422 flats and a separate 101-bed hotel receiving final approval in December 2021.

But the project has undergone a redesign after the mall was purchased by AEW in the summer of 2022.

The plans had to be changed as new fire regulations mandate that buildings that are a minimum of 18m tall must have two staircases to provide easier escape for residents in the event of a fire.

An elderly resident called Laurence Berks commented that the previous towers ‘looked like Mordor’.

READ MORE: Complaint plan for flats above Broad Street Mall looked ‘like something from Lord of the Rings’

Now the fresh plan for the project which would add more than 600 flats contained within three new towers has been submitted to Reading Borough Council.

The application has been lodged by McLaren Living, which was also recently selected by Reading Borough Council to deliver its 600+ apartment Minster Quarter project – a site located directly behind the mall.

Oliver Westray, development director of McLaren Living, commented: “Our new plans focus on regenerating Broad Street Mall and delivering an enhanced and reinvigorated mixed-use neighbourhood, one which will deliver on the council’s plans for the area and align with its vision for the town.

“We’ve sought to create a renewed and vibrant retail and residential destination, one that will be resilient and sustainable and support the local economy.

“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Reading Borough Council to deliver our vision for the transformation of Broad Street Mall.”

READ MORE: This is when new towers could be added to Broad Street Mall

As well as flats, the developers are also seeking to create circa 15,000 sq ft of commercial space comprising office, retail and leisure uses, a ‘vibrant public realm’ and improvements to the existing mall.

However, the project will mean the loss of existing units to the rear of the mall and its 720-car park, which would have to close for at least a year during the build.

The shops and car parking space will be lost as partial demolition of the mall would be required for the towers to be built. However, it is not clear how many units and parking spaces will be lost, as planning documents are not yet visible to the public.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre