God has given us a fantastic site in central Reading, one that allows us to play an active part in the life of the town centre and to serve the community. Our buildings are all the result of people, at different times, acting on a vision of what God was calling the church to be.
In mid-2016 the PCC agreed that work on redevelopment options, which had been put on hold, should be re-started. Consultations across the congregations helped clarify what we thought was needed, and there followed a necessary but lengthy process of consultation with the Reading Borough Council planning department, Historic England (as the church itself is a Grade 1 listed building), and the Diocese. This has led to substantial changes to the initial proposals, which we believe and trust are part of God helping us to get the focus of the project right.
At the beginning of August 2019 we received planning permission from Reading Borough Council for our proposals for the top end of the site. This encompasses the refurbishment of 2/4 Sackville St, mainly as offices but including also a prayer room, a link from there to the church incorporating new main toilets, and a new, glazed entrance atrium replacing the existing West End and incorporating coffee shop and bookshop areas. We are now seeking similar approval from Oxford Diocese, and in parallel technical work is underway on the detailed construction drawings. We expect to go to tender at the beginning of 2020 with the aim of work starting on site by May.
Plans for the lower end of the site have been revised following earlier comments from the Borough Council planning department, and on 7thOctober 2019 PCC agreed that these should now be submitted for full planning permission. The plans entail the replacement of the existing Centre with a new, larger building providing a hall, meeting rooms and an open-plan office space, with a broad corridor linking it to the church end of the site.
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