The ongoing tale of the redevelopment of the building and grounds.
Update: 25th July 2023
After what seems like a long time, developers have now released revised plans for the house and garden. All of them are available on the Reading Council site – and there are a lot, and they can take yonks to download. As we said on our News and Links page, Caversham and District Residents’ Association (CADRA) has a summary and links, and their suggestion about starting with the Heritage Statement is a good one.
We’re not expert enough to judge the plans but, broadly speaking, we think our concerns and/or suspicions remain as before and as outlined below. The public could benefit from access to the grounds and that would be a really good thing … but talk is cheap.
Update: 10th May 2022
Matt Rodda MP (Caversham’s local MP) today emailed us, detailing his concerns about the development of Caversham Park house and grounds. Although his email isn’t available as a download/pdf, the large part of what he says is also on his web site, here:
And we agree with his concerns and are pleased he’s raised them. However. The recent actions of Reading Borough Council (RBC) in connection with the development of Reading golf course (all detailed in the entries on this site under the ‘local issues’ category), make us suspect that:
- Because RBC needs to expand the size of the Henley Road cemetery, a very convenient deal may well be in the offing. The currently fallow field that makes up the lower part of the Caversham Park house grounds could be given to RBC by the developers. And goodness, what a surprise, it joins up to the cemetery.
- If the ‘cost’ for expanding the cemetery is more development – Caversham Park house and, indeed, in Caversham/Emmer Green as whole – RBC won’t be overly concerned. The local residents’ concerns and, indeed, Matt Rodda’s concerns about all this will have the same impact as they did with golf course development – i.e. none.
- (And who can tell whether the fact that Emmer Green returned Conservative Councillors in this month’s local council election will inform the stance taken by RBC. On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that all these building developments will have a negative impact on Labour supporters in Caversham/Emmer Green too.)
Of course, we might be wrong on all fronts. We shall see.
After a long pause, the question of how Caversham Park gets developed is now being aired. The consequences will be felt across all of Caversham and Emmer Green.
With the departure of the BBC from Caversham Park, the question of what to do with the Registered Historic Land and Grade II Listed Buildings that’s there was bound to come up.
And now we have a developer’s proposal – involving conversion of existing buildings and construction of new ones. (For some reason, the proposal flits between ‘construction’ and ‘erection’ – I have no idea why.)
The proposals, fairly vague as they are, are available (below) as two pdfs to download. Note, in particular, the use of words and phrases such as:
- “opportunities to enhance local facilities … will be created …” (Which, of course, offers no commitment to act on any such opportunities).
- “There may be opportunities to allow public access.” (But, obviously enough, there may not be.)
And do keep in mind that for all the talk in the proposal about a care home, the proposal also includes building both “open market” and “affordable” homes on Caversham Park. There are no details about what these two aspects of the proposals will entail in reality, nor what the developers will decide is “affordable”. Somehow, I doubt they will be affordable by someone on minimum wage and a zero hours contract.
(The final paragraph, below, was updated after the “viewing” date had passed.)
As you’ll see from the pdfs below, you were invited by the developer to visit Caversham Park on the 21st October to view the proposals.