The puzzle over the how the blocky and ugly Novotel got planning permission is just one issue about this place.
The fact it replaced a popular cinema building and a landmark pub is another.
But a continuing annoyance is how much of Friar Street is taken up by nothing. There may be a bar and restaurant but few locals know anything about them. Like any hotel it is for visitors not locals, and doubtless employs mostly eastern Europeans.
Quite what benefit is this place to Reading? It takes up a huge chunk of town centre space, it is ugly, the restaurant is hidden and of course its marketing is all spent out of town.
It could still have the same presence if the ground floor was given over to retailers and it just existed on the upper floors.
Then maybe the questions over how it got there in the first place might have gone away.