Council Successful in Bid to Revitalise Hexagon and Central Library
- Reading awarded £19.1 million in 'Levelling Up' funding to revitalise the Hexagon Theatre and build a modern new Central Library
- New Hexagon space will allow for flexible performance and community use
- Brand new modern library will be built next to the Council's Civic Offices on Bridge Street
READING Council has been awarded £19.1 million to revitalise Reading’s cultural offer by transforming the much-loved Hexagon Theatre and building a modern new Central Library.
The Council is one of a number of local authorities to be awarded the money as part of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ funding pot, announced yesterday (Jan 18).
Reading Borough Council’s ambition is to do everything it can to ensure that every single resident - whatever their circumstances or background - can share in the town’s success. As part of that continuing drive, the funding award will now help breathe new life into its cultural and learning offer for Reading residents.
Reading Borough Council Leader, Councillor Jason Brock, said:
“This is incredible news for Reading and once again confirms the Council’s strong track record of successfully attracting external investment to benefit local residents and our ability to deliver against investment.
“The Hexagon Theatre and Central Library are much-cherished and well-established institutions, both in Reading and across the wider region, but they also come with limitations. Our successful bid now offers us a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform both and breathe new life into services, while also supercharging our broader plans for redevelopment of the Minster Quarter.
“The funding will be used to build a brand new and additional flexible performance and community space at the Hexagon Theatre. We will also provide a modern new Reading Central Library at the Civic Offices site on Bridge Street. Importantly, both projects will also enable us to ensure much-improved accessibility so that everyone can use and enjoy the facilities.
“This already promises to be a landmark year for Reading, with modern new swimming pools and leisure facilities opening, new and refurbished train stations, new affordable homes and major investments in cycling infrastructure and in local bus services. Today’s announcement will now allow us to build on that progress and fits with this Council’s ambition to create new opportunities for everybody in the town.”
The Council’s bid is made up of:
An £8 million investment to rebuild Central Library at the Council’s Civic Offices in Bridge Street:
The existing Central Library on the King’s Road is well-used but is located in a dated building which is set over a series of floors, making accessibility difficult without significant investment. A brand new custom-built Central Library, incorporated onto the current Civic Offices site, will create a modern and open space, offering a much-improved, accessible environment for everyone. The ambition is to create a flexible space for the whole community that embraces not only the traditional offer of book loans, but looks to the future with our digital and learning offer.
A £12 million investment to revitalise Reading’s much-loved and popular Hexagon Theatre, creating an attractive, flexible and exciting new space for performances and community use:
The 1970s-built Hexagon has a number of limitations for future improvements due to its design and age. The proposal is to extend to the right-hand side of the existing building with an entrance directly off Queens Walk offering much-improved accessibility and new multi-function community space, called HexBox, that can accommodate a wider variety of performances and uses. This project will form the first phase of a longer-term regeneration of the Hexagon and the wider Minster Quarter.