Reading gets a Crossrail station and a plan for a garden city

Marion Dakers

Reading’s reputation as a dormitory town for London is getting even stronger, with a link to the new Crossrail service announced today and a call for 30,000 more homes to be built to ease the housing shortage in and around the capital.

The Berkshire town, population 155,700, will be the final stop for two trains an hour on Crossrail, which will become a major commuter route through central London when it fully opens in 2019.

Maidenhead, which was previously picked as the western terminus, will still get four trains an hour.

While the extension to Reading is partly a money-saving exercise – the town’s station needs less work than Maidenhead’s, since Network Rail is already spending £900m on a facelift – it brings Berkshire to within an hour of most of central London without having to change from a Great Western train at Paddington.

Meanwhile, Reading property company Campbell Gordon has been doing its bit for Berkshire, calling for 30,000 more homes to be built to the south of the town along the M4 motorway.

The firm said its New Reading Extension concept, an updated version of a proposal floated in the 1990s, could rival the planned garden city at Ebbsfleet, with no properties built on a flood plain.

Surveyor Ian Campbell’s plan also includes a new public park on the Kennet Meadows.

Campbell Gordon has submitted its ideas to Lord Wolfson, the Tory peer and Next chief exec who is offering a £250,000 prize for the best garden city plan.