Occupiers at Reading’s foremost business park will finally benefit from the long-awaited Green Park station when it opens later this year following further funding provided by the Thames Valley LEP.
Reading Borough Council has now secured an additional £2.477m from the Government’s New Stations Fund, and £550k from Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s (Local Enterprise Partnership) Local Growth Fund, for Green Park Station. Green Park Station will sit on the Reading to Basingstoke line and will be served by a 20-minute service north to Reading town centre and south to Basingstoke throughout the day. It will consist of two platforms and a multi-modal interchange with a surface level car park and drop-off facility, bus stops, taxi rank and cycle parking. The new station will help to alleviate queues on the busy A33 by offering an alternative, sustainable mode of travel and will significantly improve accessibility to the south Reading area which has large-scale development proposed, including the expansion of Green Park Business Park, Green Park Village and the proposed Royal Elm Park mixed-use development. The station will also be served by buses operating on the South Reading Mass Rapid Transit route between Mereoak park & ride and Reading town centre. Green Park Station is a Reading Borough Council led project and is being progressed in partnership with Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR), who will ultimately own and operate the station. Jonathan Mannings, Director, of Green Park based commercial property specialists, RARE, said “this is very positive news. The station at Green Park has been talked about for years and so it is good to know that it will become a reality at the end of this year. Whilst Green Park is already served by an excellent bus link to central Reading, the train will offer a fast, comfortable service not only to Reading but also to Basingstoke, which itself is seeing massive investment in terms of the area surrounding the station and at Basing View, one of the country’s original in-town business parks which has seen over £175 million of investment in recent years.
The opening of the Waitrose/John Lewis store on Basing View has been followed by the letting of The Florence Building which attracted Sovereign Housing to relocate from Newbury and will shortly be followed by the opening of the new 153 bedroom Village Hotel. Next year will also see completion of the new headquarters for Eli Lilly who will be moving to basing View from their current HQ on the norther fringes of the town. Like many occupiers Eli Lilly were attracted to Basing View by the ability to draw staff from a wider geography due to the improved rail service from Reading which was electrified in 2019.
For many years local authorities have tried to influence car usage by restricting the amount of car parking available at new office development. Until recently this policy seemed misguided but with new faster train links offering greater capacity coupled with new transport services such as the Mass Rapid Transport System which will also serve Green Park, the alternative forms of transport are now becoming a reality and people can start to plan to leave their cars at home given the realistic alternatives becoming available.
Greater accessibility will drive greater occupier demand at Green Park and close by at Reading International Business Park where the 406,000 sqft scheme is reportedly under offer to Tristan Capital for over £150 million. The supply of prime offices across the Thames Valley has reached a 10 year low. Following the decisive result of the General Election, business confidence has reached its highest levels in a decade and we are anticipating this will translate to an increase in rents across the Thames Valley. We expect this to be most evident in Reading which we expect will breach the £40 per sqft barrier later this year. Basingstoke which has already witnessed rises in prime rents from £18 per sqft to over £28 per sqft are also set to continue to rise and we believe the town is likely to become the “capital of the M3 corridor” given the combination of excellent transport, retail and leisure facilities it offers all complemented by an increasingly high quality housing stock.
For further information about the Green Park station and the wider Thames Valley commercial property market please contact Jonathan Mannings, Director, RARE – email@example.com