THE government's heritage watchdog, Historic England, has said it supports the idea of Reading Gaol being used as a "site for cultural and community uses".

Since Historic England expressed its support this week, it came to light that the sale of the Grade II-listed building has fallen through.

READ ALSO: Reading Prison sale falls through as bidder pulls out.

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bidder for the former Reading prison site was chosen earlier this year but the Prisons Service said the bidder has now withdrawn and it is assessing its options.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

Reading East MP Matt Rodda has been campaigning to save the jail and turn it into an arts and heritage hub.

Prior to the announcement that the sale had fallen through, Mr Rodda had met with experts from Historic England on November 4 to discuss the site.

Historic England explained experts "spoke about Reading Gaol as a landmark building with considerable historic and architectural significance, and the need to find a sustainable long-term future for it".

It added: "We are supportive of using the prison site for cultural and community uses, and remain committed to working with the purchaser and Reading Borough Council to secure a new use that safeguards the building and the important archaeology buried beneath it.”

Mr Rodda added: "Their visit was helpful and assisted me as I continue to campaign to save the Gaol and to turn it into an arts and heritage hub."

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Speaking about the fact the sale of the prison had fallen through, Mr Rodda revealed: "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.

"It's back on. We need to rally the local arts community."