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Reading awarded £19.1m in Levelling Up funding to revamp The Hexagon and build a new Central Library

Reading Borough Council has been awarded £19.1m to revitalise Reading’s cultural facilities by transforming The 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 (Wednesday).

Reading Borough Council leader 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 revamp
The Hexagon revamp

“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."

The council’s bid is made up of:

An £8m 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 set over a series of floors, making accessibility difficult without significant investment. A brand new custom-built Central Library, incorporated on to 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 £12m investment to revitalise Reading’s much-loved and popular Hexagon, 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.

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