Future of Prison Area

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spectrum64
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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I think the door was on display when the prison was opened to the public a couple of years ago. It was in the chapel where various people read Oscar Wilde's work.
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MickEdge
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spectrum64 wrote: 17 Jan 2020 11:27 I think the door was on display when the prison was opened to the public a couple of years ago. It was in the chapel where various people read Oscar Wilde's work.
That's where I remember seeing it. Perhaps, if we ever get an arts centre there the Council could demand it be returned to Reading :whistle1:
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Could the prison be used as extra space for patients?
Why not be innovative and use the prison as an extension of the hospital as there's enough room for beds.
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It would be a huge amount of work and pull staff away from the main hospital.
It would make more sense to take over the London road university campus as most of it is single story and next door to the RBH

But still, I suspect it's staff that are the issue, as well as equipment. 11,000 staff have left the NHS due to Brexit.
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dave m wrote: 21 Mar 2020 14:59 It would be a huge amount of work and pull staff away from the main hospital.
It would make more sense to take over the London road university campus as most of it is single story and next door to the RBH

.
More useful might be for the hospital to use those uni rooms like the old nurses accommodation so any NHS workers who want have somewhere local to get there head down without being in the hospital or having to travel, I am sure some would prefer to not be going to and from their family as well
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Yes.
The halls are on the other side of the London road campus -the old GPO club site and are privately run but could be used?
Proper bedrooms and kitchens /bathrooms. Some overseas students but lots of rooms must be empty?
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Voiceoftreason?
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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GaryyHill wrote: 21 Mar 2020 14:49 Could the prison be used as extra space for patients?
Why not be innovative and use the prison as an extension of the hospital as there's enough room for beds.
There no way to pipe oxygen and no place for icu beds there. It must be pretty damp/cold and musty too so hard to clean up. Are there any large spaces for beds? The cells are too small to move a hospital bed plus equipment in. It’s a good idea but it would take too long and cost too much.

The three local private hospitals are likely to be helping, although they too don’t have HDU beds IIRC.
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Most private hospital beds would be used as a means of accommodating other patients who simply need a bed and nursing, leaving the RBH beds for people who are more poorly
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Unfortunately the council has been unsuccessful in its bid to buy the prison
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MrsKaur
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Are details of the bidders the MoJ are considering available online?
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OneGorman
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Pooneil wrote: 06 Apr 2020 18:23 Unfortunately the council has been unsuccessful in its bid to buy the prison
Personally not disappointed as an arts centre does nothing for me. I’d love to see a theatre to replace the Hexagon. Reading is so much easier to get to than getting in and out of London. We could attract a lot of big name singers/bands and comedians and they’d all spend money in the slowly dying town centre whilst here.
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MickEdge
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OneGorman wrote: 07 Apr 2020 23:20
Pooneil wrote: 06 Apr 2020 18:23 Unfortunately the council has been unsuccessful in its bid to buy the prison
Personally not disappointed as an arts centre does nothing for me. I’d love to see a theatre to replace the Hexagon. Reading is so much easier to get to than getting in and out of London. We could attract a lot of big name singers/bands and comedians and they’d all spend money in the slowly dying town centre whilst here.
There’s a big difference between what you would prefer and an arts centre. A replacement Hexagon, whilst welcome, provides a passive pastime, whereas as an arts centre should be about encouraging people to get involved and take an interest in all forms of the performing and creative arts. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy TV comedians and big name bands (every August) around, but there is a shortage of smaller and cheaper multi-purpose well equipped arts venues, especially in Reading.
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Voiceoftreason?
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Ah yes, but what generates the most money?......
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What would generate most money (excluding development as luxury housing) is a multipurpose venue
You can concentrate technical and FOH resources around a central hub.

You could provide small workshops/shops and offices for artisan/arts based businesses, several different sized venues, and bar/restaurant facilities that serve all .

An example might be Warwick arts centre which has a gallery, concert hall (very like the hexagon) , theatre and studio theatre all based around a central hub.
The Brighton dome has a large theatre, corn exchange, and small theatre based around a hub
Even the mingella building at the university has two theatres, studio theatre, tv studio and cinema all based around a hub

Personally I like rock venues that aren't too big. I'm not sure what happened to the exhibition centre at the football ground, but something like Rivermead could be expanded. Venues that hold about a thousand just need a roof and flying points for lighting and pa, all of which is brought in. It's a big box and most of the structure is about containing noise and holding heavy stuff up.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y4bFOO--68I


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Voiceoftreason?
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Nice ideas - brings some variety in and seems to cover most bases.

When (if) the Mad Stad site is developed, the conference centre/hotel expansion was still on the plans IIRC. Problem is investment/funding.

didn’t GreenPark take some considerable time to get off the ground?
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I think we can kiss goodbye to much, if any government funding for a good manny years, from now on. Reading will always struggle to attract arts funding, when competing against towns like Brighton and Warwick, with a stronger heritage and cultural image. So, look forward to: “Why not spend a romantic weekend at the Wilde Hotel and Spa, Reading with fine dining in the De Profundis Restaurant”.
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Voiceoftreason?
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Hey, that DOES have a certain ring to it you know Mick 😊
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MickEdge wrote: 09 Apr 2020 15:46 I think we can kiss goodbye to much, if any government funding for a good manny years, from now on. Reading will always struggle to attract arts funding, when competing against towns like Brighton and Warwick, with a stronger heritage and cultural image. So, look forward to: “Why not spend a romantic weekend at the Wilde Hotel and Spa, Reading with fine dining in the De Profundis Restaurant”.
Presumably mainly aimed at the gay community.
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MickEdge
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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I'm quite amused who this petition is addressed to and not difficult to spot Alokky in the picture. It might help, so the more that sign it the better.
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ ... r-the-bids
bert
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MickEdge wrote: 15 Apr 2020 18:38 I'm quite amused who this petition is addressed to and not difficult to spot Alokky in the picture. It might help, so the more that sign it the better.
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ ... r-the-bids
Thanks for sharing, I signed it. It feels a bit futile in the face of some inevitable mega development of hundreds of flats, but we'll see!
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Commercial agents don't see a great deal in it for a developer.

https://ukpropertyforums.com/there-are- ... gaol-site/
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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I imagine the Council will just want to sell this at any price as they will need the money!
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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GaryyHill wrote: 27 Jun 2020 15:07I imagine the Council will just want to sell this at any price as they will need the money!
As explained previously in this thread, the council doesn't own it and therefore isn't selling it as it's not theirs to sell...
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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Pooneil wrote: 19 Nov 2020 10:53 I see the sale has fallen through- https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-b ... e-54989968
Sales often fall through, but is this a good thing or a bad thing? Getting enough money together to produce something that protects the site's history, provides some level of local amenity value and is also financially sustainable must be pretty tricky, especially now. It doesn’t sound as though there are currently any other contenders for it, based on the MoJ’s comment.
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Glad to see some (ex)local luvvies joining the campaign for it to be an arts centre. This is hot on the heels of Judi Dench making a similar call a few days ago, plus of course Stephen Fry's support back in March.
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Colin Swan
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Post by Colin Swan »

Why not turn it into a Hostel for the homeless, it is already divided into rooms (cells) so should be an easy transition, surely Reading council have money available if they wanted to show they care, some hope from what I read money is wasted on. Colin
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Beyond the rather PR-disaster-in-waiting that is sending the homeless to a prison, since we're only talking about the main Victorian building, I suspect that it would need significant work to bring it up to an acceptable standard, plus do we really have that many homeless to fill such a large building? The danger might be that you attract more homeless to the area.
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C.A.Versham
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Post by C.A.Versham »

It would be a hard sell (cell?) to use it for the homeless.

I assume that those proposing an arts venue have produced a viable business plan to cover all the costs associated with running the building. The track record of Council run venues which rely on support from local Council Tax payers is not especially encouraging particularly when there are so many other pressures on budgets.

I wonder what Oscar would have made of the efforts to save a building associated with so much misery and suffering.
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There's were 25 street sleepers in reading in November 2018. Double that for ease.
There is no homless provision in Reading that would not accept those individuals if the street sleepers agreed to the no drink/drugs/ violence code that the homeless charities have.
A colleague used to run a homeless shelter and many people prefer to sleep on the streets rather than comply- either through addiction or mental illness. Just providing a roof doesn't solve the issue.
I doubt many homeless people would appreciate being offered a cell.

The financial load of the prison site means it has to be a profitable project. My personal favourite is for the Theatre Project to acquire the site, and offer the Hexagon site plus (potentially) a bit more land in exchange with a time delay to allow the building work and moving.

The DoJ just wants money. Give them something in exchange.

People seem to imagine that RBC own the prison, which they do not.
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dave m wrote: 07 Dec 2020 13:22 The DoJ just wants money. Give them something in exchange.
That’s the problem, money. My guess is the DoJ think eventually they’ll find some mug to stump up enough for it, and so will wait. It’s a really difficult place to convert and expect to make a profit afterwards. It’s an odd shape, it’s big with many thick walls inside and out, and it’s listed. I’d love to see it turned into a community or cultural facility of one kind or another, but that may only work if it’s acquired at a very low cost. Maybe it could be some kind of indoor market, by knocking several cells together, or just a cheap place for community groups to meet. But it’s not a very flexible space. Or some cells could used for self storage (lock-up😀) or small temporary offices. RBC put a bid in didn’t they, so there must be some money available.
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Post by Lizzy33 »

I like that idea, make it a multi-use building. Some of it would be a good museum or indoor market
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Lizzy33 wrote: 19 Dec 2020 17:58 I like that idea, make it a multi-use building. Some of it would be a good museum or indoor market
I like that – a mixture of market / antiques and collectables emporium
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"Plans to transform Reading Prison into a cultural and artistic centre have taken a step forward following a government announcement. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it would allow the borough council time to seek investment in the project, before it accepted any commercial bids... An MoJ spokesperson said it had agreed a period of exclusivity until 15 March 2021, to allow Reading Borough Council to develop a business case with local partners." Full story on BBC News website.
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Re: Future of Prison Area

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15 March doesn’t seem very long to get funding. Cynically, maybe that’s deliberate, so the MOJ can say we gave you a chance.
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