Located in Cemetery Junction, an instantly recognisable part of Reading, the area is one of the most culturally diverse in the UK. The Arch, built in 1843, was originally a grand ornamental gatehouse to Reading Old Cemetery and today it’s a Grade II listed landmark which is currently vacant.
In 2019, the Arch was advertised for sale by Reading Borough Council. Keen to protect our local heritage, a community interest company called ‘Junction Arch Heritage and Arts’ (JAHA) was formed with the aim of purchasing the Arch and repurposing it as a Heritage and Arts and community co-working Hub.
JAHA’s plans are for the Arch to become the central identifiable feature of a mini complex of buildings that will bring people together by mixing food, work, leisure and culture, in a vibrant single space. JAHA will become an exciting explorative space consisting of: an exhibition and meeting room space; a street food area; affordable offices; a community garden. There will also be an occasional small outdoor artisan and food market.
The building is in a poor state, with damp issues, a death-watch beetle infestation and stonework deteriorating to the point of becoming dangerous and our plans would involve its complete restoration. JAHA’s plans would also involve working with the Council to tidy up the Cemetery, as it also in a very neglected state.
Here, we aim to keep you updated on the community group’s progress.