A planned £3.3 million revamp of Reading West Station has been ridiculed, with residents and commentators describing it as ‘cheap and ugly’ and being like “leaving a shipping container on the pavement”.

Plans for the station were submitted yesterday, including designs which have drawn much of the criticism.

Many have also criticised the loss of pavement space and the lack of a lift.

READ MORE: Reading West Station to get £3.3 million overhaul – plans revealed

There is not enough funding for disabled lifts despite calls for better access over the past few years.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Transport at RBC, said: "Local residents and regular passengers will know that Reading West Station has suffered from underinvestment for many years.

"Concealed entrances and limited waiting and ticket facilities mean the station suffers from regular bouts of anti-social behaviour.

"The proposal to create a new station building, along with improvements to the Tilehurst Road entrance and better platform waiting facilities, will all contribute to a much safer environment.

"There will be CCTV throughout and the barrier systems will only allow rail users with tickets in  from both the Oxford Road and Tilehurst Road, again making for a safer station.

"The design of the station building itself - which has been submitted by GWR’s architects as part of the application - is still subject to the usual planning processes and consultations.

"In the meantime, council planners will liaise with GWR and its architects over its proposed choice of materials and finish for the station building as these have not been finalised."

GWR said the plans not only improve the station for our customers, but also support the local and regional economy and help create a “cleaner and green environment”.

But the proposals have been widely derided. Here, we highlight just a selection of those criticisms plus a few positive comments.

To have your say on the scheme, leave a comments on the council’s planning portal http://planning.reading.gov.uk/  (application number 201448).

The design

Kicking off with the design, Rupert Pitt tweeted: “Is Reading seriously proposing a portakabin as a station or is this temporary? If permanent it is beyond parody.”

Community organisation West Reading Together added: “This is shockingly bad. Not accessible, no pavement, and so cheap and ugly.”

Mark Miwurdz called the plans simply “a £3 million portacabin”.

Similarly, Jon Stone, a journalist at The Independent, added: “So the plan is just to leave a shipping container on the pavement?“

The plans have also been compared to other proposals across England.

Rich B tweeted: “There seems to be some kind of competition going on here – who can design the ugliest, boxiest new station.

“Birmingham’s Drive Thru Starbucks/Shoebox Perry Barr, or Reading “just leave a couple of shipping containers here” West.”

While research institute Create Streets said: “Architecture as portacabin. Place-making as parody.

“The culture, aims, purpose and metrics of public commissioning of buildings and places needs to be completely transformed.”

Andy Moran summed up the feeling, saying: “So they are putting some portacabins on Oxford Road and calling it a new station?”


Concerns have also been raised over accessibility, both due to the lack of a lift and the reduced footpath space.

Ailbhe Leamy tweeted: “Does this plan include lifts, or are they reducing footpath space for wheelchairs, etc, and excluding us from transport?”

Councillor Sarah Hacker, who represents Battle ward, responded: “Still no lifts which is deeply frustrating, but the space needed to add them once money is available in included.

“It’s disgraceful that accessibility isn’t compulsory.”

READ MORE: ‘For the 21st century it provides a bad experience’: Calls for disabled access at Reading stations

While Mark @Shockabuku tweeted: “What a waste of £3.3 million. Keep the existing ticket office and spend the money on disabled access instead.”

And Donna Sibley said: “Insulting. Ugly and nasty. Stupidly narrow pavement. No lifts. Will make the area look worse.”

Andrew White, presenter of TV series Walks Britain, tweeted: “I take it that’s the station you are pulling down?

“Because if that’s what someone in 2020 has designed to try to get more passengers on the railway, heaven help us.”

Wokingham councillor Carl Doran added: “Never has the phrase “back to the drawing board” been so apt.”


In one of the few responses not criticising the plans, Paul Barber said: It’s just a station nobody has to stay there any longer than necessary.

“I’m sure you can have a brick and concrete constructed station with all the facilities mentioned above but you’ll have to pay for it.

“Austerity building design is with us for a long while.”

Lynn Robertson added: “About time – eyesore.”