A planning application will be submitted before the end of the year, with a view to starting construction next year.
Peter Brett Associates is acting as development consultant, with Arup providing technical services and Malaysian architectural practice NRY Architects is working on the design of the convention centre.
Speaking live to BBC Radio Berkshire, Royals Chief Executive, Nigel Howe, said:
This is an exciting proposal for both for Reading Football Club and the town itself. When we built Madejski Stadium in 1998, to give the club a sustainable level of income we built a small conference centre and then a hotel. Both have proved amazingly successful and we saw an opportunity for a new convention centre in the south of England situated adjacent to the stadium. This sort of development is about engaging this part of Reading and the stadium in more activities, bringing people to this part of Reading just as similar developments have done in larger towns and cities across the country.
With the support we need from local government, we have grasped the opportunity to put forward a proposal – with the aim of getting the local community more and more involved in Reading Football Club and the Madejski Stadium complex, whilst simultaneously helping the club to become more financially sustainable in the future.
We are always striving to attract new fans to the club and to the stadium and, as you have seen from today’s ‘Price of Football’ study, we can boast some of the cheapest season tickets on sale in the Football League. This development is designed to make the matchday experience for home and away supporters even better in the future.
Royal Elm Park, the name chosen for the proposal, reflects the club’s pride in its history, and the optimism in its future. Inspired by the club’s former home at Elm Park, the development hopes to capture the history, pride and energy of Reading Football Club and its loyal fans. The potential of this development provides an opportunity to deliver significant community benefits and further fulfil the potential of Reading and the Club.
A series of technical assessments, including highways and public transport, ground conditions (in consultation with the Environment Agency) and ecology, have informed the proposals, which also include 2,000sqm of high quality leisure and retail, a new 250-room hotel, a multi-storey car park and a series of transport measures, including subsidised local public transport for supporters and a new transport hub and shuttle bus services to work in conjunction with the arrival of Crossrail and the opening of the new Green Park station.
Having met with STAR representatives to introduce the project to the supporters’ trust, Howe explained:
This four-sessional public consultation is aiming to let people see how we envisage a development like this working in the long term and for their questions to be answered.
Venue: The Concert Hall, Reading Town Hall, Blagrave Street, RG1 1QHThursday 22 October 2015, 2pm – 8pm
Venue: The Concert Hall, Reading Town Hall, Blagrave Street, RG1 1QH
Saturday 24 October 2015, 10am – 4pm
Venue: South Reading Community Centre, 252-260 Northumberland Ave, RG2 7QA
The project team and a STAR representative will be on hand at each of the exhibitions in order to answer any questions about the proposal, further details of which will be available on www.RoyalElmPark.com.