Application for road supports Natural History Museum plans
23 November 2023
The University of Reading has submitted a planning application to Wokingham Borough Council for a new access road to support the proposed Natural History Museum development at Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield.
The application was submitted at the same time the Natural History Museum submitted its own planning application to Wokingham Borough Council for its proposed collections, research and digitisation centre. The Museum and the University are working together on the project.
Collections, research and digitisation centre
Subject to planning permission, the Museum will build a sustainable new facility at the University of Reading-owned Thames Valley Science Park.
The proposed centre will be operational by 2031, equipped with cutting edge laboratories, space for Museum scientists and purpose-built storage for 28 million specimens – from anteaters to zebras, corals to ancient fossils.
The building will be constructed with the lowest-possible environmental impact, using responsibly sourced materials and services. Best-in-class design practice will be employed to reduce energy and water-use and the building will be zero carbon, including both operational and embodied carbon.
This new facility will further open up the collections to researchers for scientific innovation, strengthening the UK’s position in finding solutions to the planetary emergency.
Further benefits for the local area include: employment opportunities (including during construction and operation); community engagement through active outreach; and a biodiversity net gain of 20% - in excess of the anticipated requirements.
The planning application follows a public consultation period where local residents were invited to view the plans at two drop-in events in September, speak with Museum staff and provide feedback. The plans were also available online on the Museum’s website.
The planning application will be available to view on the Wokingham Borough Council planning portal.
The building is generously enabled through a substantial £201m investment from the UK Government as part of its priority to increase investment in science, research and development.
The proposed new road will upgrade existing roads within Thames Valley Science Park to allow safer movement of pedestrians, cyclists and traffic to and from the Natural History Museum building, connecting to the existing internal and external road network. It will run east from Cutbush Lane and will be accessed via a new roundabout at the north-western frontage of the Natural History Museum building. The new road and roundabout will allow the opportunity for the existing bus services operating at Thames Valley Science Park to be extended so that they also serve the proposed Natural History Museum development.
A public consultation event for the proposed new road was held in September. The planning application will be available on the Wokingham Borough Council planning portal.
Image credit: Natural History Museum