28 April 2017
READING – Plans for a high-profile new development in Reading have been approved following a proposal put forward by Reading Football Club to develop land at the Madejski Stadium.
Called Royal Elm Park, the 15.5 hectare, £500m development will include ‘The International’, a world class convention centre to host 6,000 delegates, an ice rink, 630 new homes, a new hotel, retail and leisure space, a multistorey car park and 18400 m² of public realm. The development will also see the expansion of the Madejski stadium to create a capacity of 39,000.
PBA was tasked with solving the transport challenges for the development, a task which not only influenced the design of the masterplan but was also the key to unlocking the major redevelopment project. Such a major residential, events and sporting venue could only be approved if it demonstrated an innovative transport strategy which showed that a substantial modal shift towards public transport could delivered.
PBA’s strategy incorporates leading edge event management plans that employ a bespoke monitor and manage system to make travel easier, incentivizing the use of public transport. These systems will use bluetooth monitoring, real-time information displays, ramp metering, number plate recognition and car park management to inform people about travel times and help them plan their journeys.
PBA has also designed a new high-volume transport hub to enable a step-change in public transport capacity in preparation for conferences and match-days. This will be accompanied by new pedestrian access to Green Park Station, dedicated parking for events and residential areas, over 500 cycle spaces, and disabled parking bays across the site.
Stephen Charters, PBA’s Principal Engineer on the project, commented:
“Demonstrating that the proposed transport improvements would support the development was always going to be fundamental part of securing approval for the project, and required close liaison with key stakeholders and service providers.
Given the scale of the development and demand generated by the additional land uses we had to develop innovative ways of expanding public transport services for large events such as conferences and football matches, as well as managing on-site parking. Gaining approval for the scheme is very satisfying and reflects the effort put in by PBA and the design team as well as the officers at Reading Borough Council”
The scheme will now progress to the final stages of the planning process and construction is planned to begin in early 2018.