A TRAIN station in Reading plagued with drug dealing and violence will get a "long overdue" £3.1 million upgrade

A new glass and brick building, with a ticket office, public toilets and small shop, will be built at Reading West Station, underneath the railway bridge on Oxford Road.

Secure tickets barriers will be installed at both entrances to the station, as well as a new CCTV system and lighting, in a bid to improve security.

Thames Valley Police say there are long-standing problems with violence and anti-social behaviour at the station, which is also regularly used by county lines drug dealers.

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Those dealers have been “taking advantage of the current lack of secure gates, ticket barriers or staff”, a council report states.

Reading Borough Council says construction could begin as early as March 2021 and the project will take around one year to complete.

Minor changes will be made to the layout of the road outside the station, to relocate bus stops and proving parking spaces for bikes.

The plans, submitted by Great Western Railway, were approved by Reading Borough Council’s Planning Applications Committee on January 13.

The original plans for the station revamp were heavily criticised, with some comparing the design to a shipping container, so architects returned to the drawing board and came up with a new design.

Cllr Tony Page, deputy leader of the council, said: “The station is in a poor state of repair after decades of underinvestment, despite significant usage, with nearly 500,000 passenger journeys a year.

“It’s as busy as Tilehurst Station, but it remains very much the Cinderella station in the Reading area.”

Cllr Page said further investment is needed, for the “substantial rebuilding of both platforms that are currently substandard” so they can become wheelchair accessible.

He added: “This application is a welcome first phase of improvements for Reading West that are long overdue.

“It will provide significant enhancements for station uses and act as a catalyst for further investment.”