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Reading approves Royal Elm Park development

Words: Huw Morris

The £500 million Royal Elm Park landmark development has been approved by Reading Borough Council.

The scheme, next to Reading Football Club’s Madjeski Stadium, comprises a 28,000 square metre convention centre set to become the largest dedicated conference venue in the south of England.

RFC PropCo Ltd, which is behind the project, is a partly owned subsidiary of the football club.

Known as The International, the centre will have a capacity of 6,000 and will host a full panoply of events, concerts and conferences. The complex will include an ice rink for leisure and competitive sport.

Royal Elm Park will deliver about 600 homes plus 18,000 square metres of new public open space. A public square of 8,000 square metres aims to form a focal point for residents, football supporters and visitors, and will include over 2,000 square metres of shops, leisure facilities and restaurants.

The scheme aims to offer a significant stimulus to the region, support Reading’s position as one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities and boost inward investment with larger and better facilities for businesses seeking a home in the South-East. It will create more than 1,000 jobs once the development is completed, and provide 2,000 jobs during the construction and operation phases.

“This is a huge boost for Reading, and will deliver a step change in the city’s ability to host international, large-scale conferences and events, which the business community here has long sought,” said Reading FC chief executive Nigel Howe. “It delivers a new and reinvigorated destination for businesses and the Reading community, and will significantly enhance the match-day experience for our supporters, the driving force behind the club’s success.”