Friday, 25 May 2012


Thats the estimated cost of moving Reading council from the Civic Centre to Plaza West in Bridge Street. It may be cheaper than the alternative site they looked at on the Queens Walk, but is this the only option. A few years ago I wrote a letter to the paper suggesting a Green alternative. The Council say it has looked at refurbishment but I have how they achieved their estimate of £50 million for this. It may very well be cheaper and greener to refurbish than to demolish. In the event it does prove impossible to refurbish, there are empty buildings around Reading that may be a cheaper option. In these difficult times surely the Council should be looking at every option. The council report reveals a failure of maintenance that has helped lead them to this state.
Since the decision was taken to move to a new Civic HQ in September 2006, the Civic Offices maintenance regime has been scaled back to a basic level to maintain day-to-day operation and safety. This lack of planned investment in the maintenance of the building has led to further deterioration in its condition, increased risks, and has incurred significant costs in urgent health and safety repairs.
This is a chart showing cost savings, refurb against new build.
This is my blog from 2009 about my 2006 letter.
Reading Civic Centre Waste Of Money I wrote a letter to the local press in September 2006, saying the proposed Rebuild of the Civic Centre was a waste of money. The reasons the Labour Council gave for replacing it was that it was old, actually its far newer than most of Reading, Victorian houses were built to last. They also talked about the new one being greener, costing less to heat and cool. Actually knocking down a structurally sound building is not at all green. My suggestion was that they refurbish it to improve the insulation, as has been done on other buildings of a similar age. The big three 'Grey' Parties all agreed on this policy at the time. But now, in economically troubled times, people are looking to make savings. Particularly as its been revealed that plans and designs have already cost £3.7 million! I think its a good idea to change your mind when circumstances change, its a sign of intelligence. Of course its even better when you were right in the first place.
And this is the 2006 letter
Submitted by Adrian Windisch on 28 September 2006 - 1:01pm RBC say we have no money for collecting bins weekly but were finding £54 million to spend on a new Civic Centre! Does anyone believe that at around 30 years old it needs replacing? Have they sought everal quotes from different companies to refurbish it? I would advise them to contact Integer who have experience of converting a tower block with similar problems into a sustainable building; improving insulation and shading windows to reduce heating and cooling. See integer . They should look at different schemes and estimate the carbon cost as well as the financial costs involved. If the decision is taken to build another one can we ensure it is designed to last for at least a hundred years, with passive solar heating, cooling and levels of insulation far above the minimum levels set by current building regulations. Is this about a sustainable future or building a monument to some rather large egos. Adrian Windisch
He is once again Labour but the then 'Independant' Tony Jones then said no but the link is now broken.


howard thomas said...

Adrian,.... With regard to the existing building they are saying that it would cost just over £90million for the 25 year period to refurbisb and maintain it.
I don't know how they arrive at that figure, but its worth remembering that these are the same people that spent over £3.8 million just examining the possibilities on the last occasion.
I remember when we asked Fred Pugh exactly what the council had received for all that money. He just shrugged his shoulders,puffed on his pipe and walked off.........kind of says it all really. FOI questions to RBC showed who had the money , but not what they did to 'earn'it. Over £3million went to sort government quango type organisation that was supposed to help councils with big projects!

Adrian Windisch said...

they seem to be on another planet. same with olympics budget, mod ...