High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
There is an urgent need to dust off and re-use the historic buildings here to help breathe new life into this part of Reading, which is deprived and the third most unequal city in the country.
Although often thought of as a very modern town centre, Reading has an incredible depth of history and is home to some wonderful architecture. The High Street Heritage Action Zone includes the cross roads that mark the town's earliest streets (around the churchyard of Reading Minster), the market place outside the gates of its Royal Abbey, and the Oxford Road.
The historic buildings in these areas – ranging from Medieval to Georgian and Victorian – have suffered decline as big retail centres such as the Oracle shopping centre have taken over and dominated. Local small businesses are finding it difficult to compete. A number of historic buildings are decaying or lying empty and a number of the shop fronts are of poor quality.
The High Street Heritage Action Zone is set to refurbish run down shop fronts and hopes to help improve the layout and design of the areas so that the historic parts are better connected to the modern parts of the city. The ambition is to increase footfall and create a more joined up community feel. By unlocking the heritage that is here, we hope – working with partners – to boost the economy for residents and business owners.
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