Purple Turtle Reading lays out ambitious expansion plans

The Purple Turtle in Gun Street is one of the town’s best destinations for music and DJ nights, but also stand-up comedy and burlesque performances.

It currently has a street level space where bands can perform and is known for raucous rock music DJ sets.

The Purple Turtle also has a lower level ‘dungeon’ which has become a popular space for drum and bass and dance music DJs to spin their decks.

Now, the owners have submitted an application to take over neighbouring building 10 Gun Street.

In full, the plans involve turning the existing building into a café restaurant, creating a rear extension that will provide entertainment space, a stage and a bar and the construction of a separate three storey building to provide ‘back of house’ space and a green room for performers.

READ MORE: Band who started at the Purple Turtle set to support Lewis Capaldi’s European tour

The building, situated to the left of The Purple Turtle, has been vacant since 2004.

Documents submitted with the application state the building was used by the NHS prior to its closure, being variously used by the Reading Medical Society, the Berkshire Area Health Authority and finally the West Berkshire Health Authority.

The Purple Turtle owner’s intentions for the building are complicated by the fact that 10 Gun Street is Grade II listed.

The building at its earliest is based on a 16th century timber framed building which was rebuilt in the first half of the 18th century with the earliest Title Deeds on record dating to 1753.

It was initially established as a house but came into commercial use from 1845 onwards.

From 1900 to 1937 it came into use as a saddler shop, which sold saddles to horse riders.

Reading Chronicle: The old saddler shop at 10 Gun Street Reading circa 1900, Credit: Reading Civic SocietyThe old saddler shop at 10 Gun Street Reading circa 1900, Credit: Reading Civic Society

Buildings that are listed require consent from the planning authority (Reading Borough Council in this case) when substantial internal and external modifications are proposed, and when a new construct is built within the  curtilage of the existing building.

In this case, listed building consent is required for the internal modifications, extension and new building on the site.

The Purple Turtle owners were able to win consent for similar plans for 10 Gun Street back in June 2020, which would have involved building a taller rear extension and a microbrewery to the rear of the site.

However, the planning consent appears to have lapsed and the owner’s ideas for the building have changed.

You can view the latest application by typing reference 230107 into Reading Borough Council’s planning portal.

The branding for the entrance to the proposed café restaurant will be determined at a later date.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre