After a break last week, due to the planning portal not working, this week we bring you a bumper round-up of the most interesting planning decisions approved or rejected in Reading and its surrounding areas.
There were also decisions made on more than a hundred homes in Theale and flats next to a beloved arts centre in central Reading.
Restaurant, cookery school and bakery plans at remote farm refused
Plans for a restaurant, cookery school and bakery at a remote farm near Aldermaston have been rejected due to the lack of sustainability and suitability of such major plans on a remote site.
Councillors highlighted the climate emergency in rejecting the plans at Wednesday’s WBC Planning committee.
Only one councillor – Ross Mackinnon backed the plan from The Wasing Estate at Shalford Farm, in Brimpton, while councillor Alan Law, chairman of the committee, abstained.
The committee agreed with officers that the development would “undermine” nearby retail centres, while the “fairly remote” location and the nature of the local rural road network “would not be likely to actively encourage” sustainable modes of transport.
Councillor Jeremy Cottam, who voted against the plan, said: “This council has declared a climate emergency which means we have to make some very hard decisions.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to say I cannot support this application.”
Paul Woodley, chairman of the Wasing Parish Meeting, had expressed his support for the plans, which he said would “turn a run-down eyesore into a lovely local rural enterprise” and protect jobs.
The plan, which also included overnight accommodation, yoga spaces and a farm shop, was also praised by Aldermaston ward councillor Dominic Boeck.
Former church will become eight flats – neighbours worried about impact on arts centre
A former church at 21 South Street, in central Reading, will become a three-storey building with eight flats despite concerns from neighbours.
The empty site, formerly home to Zoar Strict Baptist Chapel, is next door to South Street Arts Centre, a longstanding cultural venue which is home to performance groups and a venue for local church services.
Around 20 residents raised concerns that future tenants will complain about noise and say it should be the responsibility of the developer to properly soundproof the flats to avoid this issue.
RBC planning officers approved the plans but put in a condition which says the developer must submit a detailed scheme for avoiding issues over noise coming from the surrounding area, and specifically from South Street Arts Centre.
The developer will have to take noise measurements when live events take place at the arts centre to help it to devise a way to avoid noise complaints from future tenants.
Theale will get up to 104 new homes
More than a hundred homes will be built on green space in Theale, after plans were approved at the same committee meeting on Wednesday.
Six members of the committee voted for the plan for up to 104 homes at land north of The Green, near Theale Green School, with three voting against.
Forty-two of the homes will be at affordable housing rates.
But the committee asked for informative to be placed on the application that pedestrian access to the north must be relocated to be placed in a safer location.
Building on the site is recommended in the council’s Local Plan and councillor Graham Pask said: “The principle of development is established.”
But Cllr Macro said 104 homes is “pushing things too far” and that he believed there should be more homes of a family size.
Extension approved above bungalow
Plans to extend a bungalow in Emmer Green have been approved despite a neighbour’s concerns.
The homeowner can now build a one-storey extension above the bungalow and build single storey side and rear extensions at the property on Eric Avenue.
The dropped kerb outside the front of the home will be extended to create additional off-road parking.
One neighbour said the plans would have a “huge, detrimental impact” on their family, by allowing the neighbours to see straight into all areas of their back garden, as well as their living room and their children’s bedrooms.
They said: “The proposed plans would significantly damage our ability to enjoy our own property, while grossly intruding into our everyday private lives.”
Primary school gets extra year at temporary home
A primary school has been granted a further year stay at temporary buildings in Caversham despite concerns over the school’s use of a fenced-over park.
The council’s Planning Applications committee unanimously voted to allow The Heights Primary School to stay for one more year at the temporary site on Gosbrook Road before moving to Mapledurham Playing Fields in 2021.
They also voted to allow the fence to stay up around parts of Westfield Road Recreation Ground, despite concerns the space had become a “mudbath”.
Click here for more information on the controversial stay.
New Police HQ in Reading – plans approved
Police in Reading have moved one step closer to leaving their town centre headquarters.
After more than 40 years in the town centre, Thames Valley Police’s (TVP) Reading headquarters will move to Atlantic House, near the Madejski Stadium and new train station Green Park.
Plans to move from the current Castle Street base next year are progressing, and a proposal submitted to the council to to increase the number of parking spaces at the site by 48 to 201 was approved last week.