A cinema and restaurants at the prime shopping centre in Reading could be knocked down if transformation plans are given the go-ahead.
The Vue Cinema building at The Oracle Riverside in the town centre is the subject of a plan to replace it with a new cinema, a restaurant and 247 apartments.
The cinema was opened in 1999 as an 11-screen multiplex and has been a fixture in the town ever since.
But the Vue could be gone for a number of years as plans show it being replaced with two large cinema screens and a smaller screen.
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The project to replace the cinema has been submitted by Hammerson, the managers of The Oracle.
Justifying the project, Hammerson’s planning agents Turley said: “Now at over 20 years the cinema is in need of significant investment to upgrade the existing facilities, both in terms of physical environment for customers and technological infrastructure.
“The cinema is facing increased competition from more modern facilities within the Thames Valley including the Showcase in Wokingham and Cineworld at the Lexicon, Bracknell as well as market trends resulting in lower cinema footfall, including at home streaming services and cost of living challenges.”
It is understood that Vue would occupy the 2,600 sqm new cinema space once an approved build is completed.
Turley’s planning statement also declares that the existing cinema jobs will be retained or re-provided through the re-provision of the cinema.
The demolition of the Vue building would also mean that four existing restaurants would have to close.
These are the Miller & Carter steakhouse, Browns brasserie & bar, TGI Fridays and the Cote Brasserie.
The demolition of the building would also mean a fifth restaurant unit, Handmade Burger Co, would have to go as well.
While the burger chain hoped to reopen in The Oracle last year, these plans seem to have been aborted, as the restaurant remains closed despite the company winning permission to sell food and alcohol and play music until midnight in April 2022.
Submitted floor plans show a restaurant or bar to the east of the new Oracle building, which would see a net loss of four restaurant units.
Two of the restaurants that would have to close have other locations in Reading.
TGI Fridays has another restaurant at the Reading Station Shopping Park in Caversham Road, and Miller & Carter opened its second steakhouse in Caversham last year.
The demolition of the cinema and restaurant building would clear the way for 247 apartments to be built in the upper floors of a new tower.
This would be up to 16 storeys tall and contain 22 studio apartments, 117 one-bed, 98 two-bed and 10 three-bed flats.
The remaining parts of the ground floor would be used as a lobby for people living in these rental apartments, along with cycle and waste storage space.
The plan for the Vue building has been called ‘Yield Hall Place 2’, and can be viewed by typing reference 221917 into the council’s planning portal.
It forms part of Hammerson’s wider project for the transformation of The Oracle, which would also see the former Debenhams unit part demolished and replaced with 202 rental apartments, a restaurant, leisure unit and co-working office space.
The former Debenhams is located on the opposite side of the River Kennet from the Vue building and has been designated ‘Yield Hall Place 1’ by Hammerson (planning reference 221916).