Reading Borough Council are planning to launch a £20 million bid for a share of the government’s Levelling Up Fund, as they look to regenerate the area with two major developments.
£8 million of the funding is expected to go toward the rebuilding of the Central Library, to make the space flexible for the entire community. This would not only improv the experience of traditional book loaning, but also embracing the future of learning with digital opportunities.
The majority of the funding, £12 million, will be used to redevelop and revitalise the popular Hexagon Theatre. This would make the space attractive and exciting whilst also able to provide a new space for community use and performances.
Jason Brock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said:
“Both the Hexagon Theatre and Reading Central Library are major institutions in our town which continue to be very well-used and extremely popular. I think most people would agree with me, however, when I say that both buildings are dated and present limitations to improving our future cultural and learning offer to local residents.
This Levelling Up funding pot now offers us the opportunity to do just that. If we are successful in our bid, it will offer us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalise and breathe new life into the cultural and learning offer in this part of Reading. A brand-new and additional flexible performance and community space would be created at the Hexagon Theatre.
We would also construct a modern new custom-built Reading Central Library at the Civic Offices site on Bridge Street. Importantly, both projects would enable us to ensure much-improved accessibility so that everyone can use and enjoy the facilities.”
With the expiry date for submissions for the second round of government funding fast approaching, the bid will need to be entered at the beginning of July, with the results being released in the autumn of this year.