Search for derelict buildings' owners
April 17, 2008
A rundown area of Katesgrove could be developed with derelict buildings demolished and turned into housing.
Empty and dilapidated homes close to the junction of Pell, Southampton and Crown streets have plagued the Katesgrove landscape for some time.
Now Reading Borough Council plans to demolish the houses and develop the area.
However, the council only owns two of the four abandoned homes – the other two are owned privately – and it cannot knock any of them down without first finding the owners of the other properties.
At the moment the council is not saying what developments are planned for the site of the homes, but close by – above Fun ‘n’ Frolic fancy dress shop and also at the junction of Silver Street and Crown Street – student accommodation is planned or has sprung up.
The University of Reading and Thames Valley University are constantly growing and students need somewhere to live.
The Katesgrove area is very close to The University of Reading, which is a short walk up London Street, Christchurch Road and Shinfield Road, and also close to the town centre.
Reading Borough Council spokesman Oscar Mortali said: “The council owns two of the four derelict adjoining houses on this site.
“We are trying to contact the other owners, who are currently unknown, with a view to moving forward on possible demolition and redevelopment.”
As already mentioned, there are also plans to revamp the area near the junction of Crown and London streets.
Reading Borough Council owns the former Reading Council for Racial Equality (RCRE) building which has not been used since September last year (2007). The body completed its move to St Giles Court, off Southampton Street, in November.
Mr Mortali said there were plans to turn this building into student accommodation. There are also proposals to turn the Silver Street Community Garden into homes for students, although this is still in the early stages.
The proposals are complicated because although the council owns some of the London Street site – for example RCRE and the garden – they do not own it all. As before, private owners also have a stake in properties in the area.
Mr Mortali said: “While the council does own a percentage of this site, it is not the majority landowner.
“That means any future development of the site would need to be agreed by all the landowners, which complicates matters.
“However, the council is in discussions regarding possible future use of the site, of which one of the options is student accommodation.
“Negotiations are ongoing and we are not in a position to give any further details at this stage.”
- What do you think should happen to the derelict sites in Katesgrove? Call Anna Roberts on (0118) 918 3063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org