DESIGNS for new flats and commercial units have been unveiled by developers hoping to rejuvenate one of the town centre's neglected sites.

More than 60 flats form part of detailed plans for the Bristol and West Arcade, with developers exceeding the 18 homes initially proposed for the land last year.

Plans for seven retail units, including one pub, went on display at Novotel on Friday, July 21.

A total of 64 flats have been proposed for the Arcade by developers Sonic Star Properties, with plans drawn up by architectural firm Rodic Davidson.

Ian David, from Rodic Davidson, said: "The redevelopment of the Friar Street site will bring a long-neglected corner of Reading town centre back into vibrant use; creating a new public courtyard, restoring and reviving three listed buildings and creating 64 new apartments ranging in size from 1-bed to 4-beds, including a contribution towards affordable housing.

"Seven new retail units will be opened at ground floor level, including a pub within the old Coopers Arms building.

Reading Chronicle:

"These new units will draw the public to the new courtyard behind the listed buildings which will be a beautifully landscaped space for the enjoyment of new residents and the public."

Previous plans for the site were aborted by Brook Henderson after it gained planning permission for a health club and 14 flats more than a decade ago.

The new scheme's pre-application public consultation saw artist impressions for the area go on show to the public for the first time.

It is believed the pub will replace the former Coopers Arms in Market Place, with shops and restaurants filling the other six gaps.

Existing buildings at 173-175 Friar Street would be knocked down along with modern extensions to any listed building in the area and the creation of a new public courtyard.

A new nine-floor building would be erected, with a mixture of 23 one-bed, 24 two-bed, 15 three-bed and one four-bed flats.

The walkway which opens into Friar Street will be moved eastwards towards Market Place.

It is hoped a planning application will be submitted to Reading Borough Council by the end of the year.