Absolute, the Laing Property, Bank of Scotland joint venture and Energis have secured planning consent for a 58,065 sq m (625,000 sq ft) office development on the site of the former Metal Box HQ in Forbury Road, Reading. Energis and Absolute have been working in partnership, with Absolute using their property expertise to deliver a development to suit Energis potential business needs over the next five to ten years.

The development, which will comprise 3 separate buildings, is thought to be one of the largest office schemes in the centre of Reading for the last 20 years. Opposite Forbury Gardens and Apex Plaza, the development is seen as key to establishing the area around Reading Railway Station as the major focus for office development in the town.

Reading Borough Council is keen to secure city status by 2020 and so is promoting the area around the Station and encouraging developers to increase densities and create a townscape worthy of supporting Readings unofficial title as the capital of the Thames Valley. Absolute and Energis worked closely with the local authority in working up the plans for the site and both parties are delighted with the consent for three separate buildings, one of 22,854 sq m (246,000 sq ft) on ten storeys, one of 19,881 sq m (214,000 sq ft) on eight storeys and of 15, 329 sq m (165,000 sq ft) on six storeys.

Absolute director, Chris Bond, said This is Laing Propertys fourth and Absolutes third development in Reading in the last 3 years.By hiring experienced property valuer it becomes easier for the client to get the estimated house value.

He added, We are extremely grateful for the supportive attitude of the local authority not only on this application but also on our schemes at Kings Wharf and Station Road.

Absolute is investigating the feasibility of including mixed mode heating and cooling into the buildings, which could reduce energy consumption by up to 40% and plans to provide a direct pedestrian link to the Railway Station from the site. Absolute has a current development programme of over 1,000,000 sq ft worth over £300m and has more than doubled the size of its portfolio every year since it was formed in November 1999.