Broad Street Mall Planning Application

The owners of the Broad Street Mall (BSM) have recently submitted a significantly larger planning application to redevelop the shopping mall. This new application includes three residential tower blocks, which were part of the previously approved plan.

A depiction of the proposed development as seen from the intersection of Jesse Terrace and Baker Street.

A perspective of the proposed development from the end of Baker Street. Notably, the closest tower exceeds the permitted height by 7 storeys and approximately 27 meters (almost 90 feet), as outlined in the area’s development framework.

Development Framework

The BSM development falls under the Minster Quarter Area Development Framework (MQADF), which was adopted in December 2018. BSANA helped contribute to shaping this framework by gathering input from residents during a public meeting we hosted in collaboration with Reading Civic Society. Local politicians, including our MP, also attended.

The MQADF is not an isolated document; it integrates with various policies of the Reading Borough Council. It builds upon existing planning policies concerning tall buildings, affordable housing, and other aspects outlined in the local plan, ensuring Reading’s growth is cohesive, manageable, and sustainable. This process involves diverse input from various stakeholders.

The MQADF delineates the development parameters for the entire Minster Quarter Area, encompassing the BSM. These parameters include permissible heights for tower blocks and indicative numbers of dwellings. Specifically, a 20-storey limit is set as the maximum height for tall buildings within the site, with a height restriction of 60 meters for any structure atop the BSM.

These development parameters offer essential certainty to developers, indicating that applications falling within these bounds cannot be refused solely on these grounds. Equally important, they provide certainty to stakeholders, including residents and property buyers, regarding the expectations from this development.

The New Application

After an initial review it comes as a surprise that the application has progressed this far, considering how significantly it deviates from the permitted development parameters of the MSADF:

  • The tallest tower proposed exceeds the permitted maximum height above the BSM by 45%, reaching 87 meters compared to the allowed 60 meters.
  • With 27 storeys above the BSM, the tallest tower surpasses the permitted maximum of 20 storeys by 35%.
  • The proposed number of dwellings stands at 644, in stark contrast to the indicative range of 280 – 420. Additionally, Fountain House, atop the BSM, has been granted permission to convert office space into a further 48 dwellings. If approved, this would result in almost 700 flats atop the BSM, surpassing the indicative numbers by 65%.
  • Particularly concerning is the allocation of affordable dwellings, with only 49 proposed, representing just 7.5% of the total. This falls significantly short of the compliance level for a development of this scale, which mandates 30% affordable dwellings. Consequently, the site should provide for 193 affordable dwellings, indicating a shortfall of 144 units compared to MQADF’s policy expectations.

Addition Information

The application number is 240173. It’s worth noting that this application comprises 193 documents, totalling over 2000 pages in length.

Reading Borough Council Online Planning – Details

The Minster Quarter Area Development Framework and other Reading Borough Council planning policies are available at.

Planning Policies


BSANA is currently in the process of examining the extensive documentation. We highly value your input regarding this application and would greatly appreciate any assistance in crafting BSANA’s response. Please note that comments generally must be submitted by 10 April and that BSANA has been granted an extension to 19 April.

Your Views

We would like to hear your views about this planning application – please note the deadline of 19 April.

Click here to give us your views