Revitalising the Hexagon, Central Library and Civic Customer Service

We are working on exciting proposals to revitalise Reading’s cultural offer. We intend to do this by transforming the much-loved Hexagon Theatre and building a modern new Central Library. Alongside this, we will also be creating a new public reception to the council and service centre at the Civic Offices.

It is our ambition to do everything we can to ensure that all residents, whatever their circumstances or background, can share in the town’s success.

In January 2023, we received the fantastic news that the council has been successful in our bid for ‘Levelling Up’ funding, and we have been awarded £19.1 million to revitalise Reading’s cultural offer.

Civic Library consultation

Read the latest on the Civic Library consultation.

Our plan

  • An £8.6 million investment to rebuild Central Library at the Council’s Civic Offices in Bridge Street. The existing library on the King’s Road is well-used but the dated building is set over a series of floors. This makes accessibility difficult and we cannot improve it without significant investment. A brand-new custom-built Central Library added to the current Civic Offices site would create a modern and open space, offering a much-improved, accessible environment for everyone. The ambition would be to create a flexible space for the whole community that embraces not only the traditional offer of books loans but looks to the future with our digital and learning offer. Alongside this, we have a vision for the new public reception to the council and service centre. We want to create a safe, welcoming and accessible space for visitors and colleagues alike. We also want it to serve as a hub for community engagement and support for existing and new users, whilst giving a professional and effective welcome for business visitors.
  • A £13.7 million investment to revitalise Reading’s much-loved and popular Hexagon Theatre. This will create 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 age and design. Our plan is to extend to the right-hand side of the existing building with an entrance directly off Queens Walk. This will offer much-improved accessibility and a new multi-function community space. We will use this space for a wider variety of performances and uses.

This will form the first phase of a longer-term regeneration of the Hexagon.

The Hexagon development is part of our ambitious and wider plan to create the ‘Minster Quarter’. The Minster Quarter plan will include building hundreds of new homes in a significant area of the town centre, creating a vibrant thriving new community at the heart of the town. A lot of the housing will be much-needed affordable housing. It will bring new jobs and growth which will benefit local residents and the local economy.

Both proposals focus on improved sustainability. This is part of our commitment to working towards a net-zero carbon Reading by 2030.

We will match-fund our award by 10% from our own capital investment fund.

We have created some indicative designs and artist’s impressions which you can see below. We are emphasising that our proposals are still relatively early concepts.

Design shows people milling about outside an extension of the Hexagon called the HexBox.
The HexBox
Design shows people at night milling about outside the HexBox. The building is lit up.
The HexBox at night
Plan shows a few people in a spacious area with pillars and stairway in the background.
The Studio Theatre

There will be more chances for residents and stakeholders to feed into the design process as the project progresses.

The Government’s £4.8 billion fund runs until 2024/25. The aim of the fund is to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life for local residents. The grants support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets. Find out more about the Levelling up Fund.

Last updated on 14/09/2023