Plan for Reading offices to be replaced with 570 flats

Peveril Securities, an investment and development company, wants to replace the Napier Court office buildings in Napier Road with apartments.

Napier Court is located opposite Kings Meadow, and is near the massive Thames Quarter apartment complex and the Tesco Extra.

The site consists of three two-storey brick office buildings.

Peveril Securities wants to knock these down and replace them with two buildings containing a total of 570 apartments.

The development would be made up of 296 two-beds, 208 one-bed, 56 three-bed and 10 studio flats, which would be contained within one 11-storey and one 10-storey apartment block.

Due to the site’s proximity to the town centre, 58 car parking spaces are proposed for the development, along with four car club spaces and cycle storage space for around 283 bicycles.

Napier Court is a 10-minute walk away from Tesco Extra.

READ MORE: Plans in progress to replace Thames Valley Police headquarters in Reading with flats

Describing the residential amenities which would be included, the applicant’s planning agents Carney Sweeney said: “The proposal includes ancillary facilities for residents at ground level providing an active frontage at street level, with further provision within a mezzanine level.

“The amenity provision includes a resident’s lounge; gym; workspace; cinema; private dining and games area.

“The proposal also includes for a rooftop garden and terrace for residents.”

The site has been identified for residential development in the Reading Local Plan 2019, in policy CR11i.

However, the policy gives an ‘indicative capacity’ of 210-310 homes, well under the 570 proposed by Peveril Securities.

The council has stipulated that any development must also avoid detrimental impact on River Thames, as the site is not far away from the river and the Thames Lido, which is a Grade II listed building.

The policy states: “This area will be developed for residential.

“The design must avoid detrimental effects on the adjacent Thames Valley Major Landscape Feature, and building heights should reduce from west to east across the site.”

READ MORE: The Oracle to change for first time since opening as plans are approved

The policy also mentions that any development would have to be sensitive to prospective Network Rail depot and council plans for the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) route.

The MRT scheme was meant to establish a bus lane and active travel route adjacent to Napier Road bringing people from a park and ride at Thames Valley Park to the town centre.

But the council’s plans for the MRT were defeated as Wokingham Borough Council refused its application to establish a bridge over the Kennet Mouth, which falls within its jurisdiction.

READ MORE: Failed East Reading MRT scheme cost Reading Borough Council more than £800k

Before a full planning application for the 570 flats is submitted, the developers seeking a ‘screening opinion’ from Reading Borough Council to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is needed.

Carney Sweeney has argued an EIA is not needed as Napier Court, due to the site being featured in the Local Plan and within the urban development of the town.

It will be up to the council’s planning department to determine whether an EIA  is needed or not.

You can view the application by typing reference 231263 into the council’s planning portal.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre