The sale of the Grade II-listed Reading Prison has fallen through.

A successful bidder for the former Reading prison site was chosen earlier this year but the Prisons Service said the bidder has now withdrawn and it is assessing its options.

Developer Artisan Real Estate was due to buy the old prison for an undisclosed sum, according to the BBC.

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A spokesman for the Prisons Service said: “The bidder for the former Reading prison site has withdrawn and a decision on next steps will be made in due course.

“We will seek the best outcome for taxpayers while ensuring that any purchaser complies with planning requirements concerning this historical site’s future use.”

The council's bid for the former jail was rejected earlier this year.

Reading Gaol: Council's bid rejected by Ministry of Justice 

Reading East MP Matt Rodda said "this is a real opportunity for the government to rethink" plans for the prison and he has written to Prisons minister Lucy Frazer, calling again for it to be turned into an arts and heritage hub.

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He added: "I have thought for a while that this proposed bidder's approach might fall through because of the context of the pandemic and the difficulty of turning the building into luxury flats.

"The important thing now is we restart the campaign. Its back on. We need to rally the local arts community."