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Author Topic: Making our rail corridors more productive  (Read 2827 times)
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2018, 09:25:13 pm »

o respond to the second part of your post.

The issue with placing buildings over the railway is that it puts treats the passengers as second class citizens by banishing them to the basement. There have been too many awful examples of over-track development over the years - Euston, Birmingham New Street, Sunderland - dark dingy places.

One of the better results in the last few years was not placing office developments over Paddington to replace the Edwardian Span 4. The glorious roof at Paddington is one of the things that helps make train travel civilised.

Specifically in Reading - I see no need for a major town centre development. There have been a number of recent developments for retail, accommodation and office use - and a considerable quantity of the office floor space is still not let. There was a proposal, involving Sir John Madeski, of rebuilding the area between the station and Friar Street on the site of the (now demolished) 1960s building which included Western Tower (the home of the Western Region's London Division) but both it, and another subsequent proposal, both died. In any event the station at Reading is on an embankment so any development would be very high. As the Council's Local Plan requires that certain views be protected

You have hit the nail on the head there - there was no way building over the new Reading Station was going to be viable in the aftermath of the last recession with many easier-to-build sites available in the town centre, and quite a lot of slack in the market to take up. Regrettably I do not think aesthetics have much to do with it, the the absence of buildings of historic significance like Paddington or St Pancras. In the case of Birmingham New Street it has remains a basement under a shopping centre, they have just renewed the shopping centre above it and refurbished the concourse of the station. At Guildford an unlovely victorian brick station was replaced by a not terribly attractive 1980s station (leaving inadequate overbridge and grotty rear exit), so there will be few tears shed when it is replaced. However I shall miss the view of Chalk Hill from platform 8 and the flocks of swifts chasing round the station in summer if I have not retired when (and if) the new station and associated development is built.
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