A plan to convert dozens of ‘apart-hotel’ bedrooms into long term living homes in Reading is set to be decided.
‘Apart-hotel’ rooms provide basic facilities for someone to live on their own with the amenities of a hotel.
The building in question, 12-18 Crown Street, was converted from offices into 34 apartments around 2005-2006, with 10 apartments being created when permission was given to add an extra floor to the building.
Now developers ‘Shall Do Crown Street Limited’ have applied to convert the 44 apart-hotel rooms into flats.
Of the 44 rooms, 27 would be one-bedroom, 13 would have two-bedrooms, and four would become studio apartments.
The apart-hotel rooms were run by a company called Reading Serviced Apartments, which is listed as ‘permanently closed’ on Google Maps.
It is unclear whether anyone currently lives in the building.
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Existing plans show a café for residents on the ground floor, with the apart-hotel rooms being a mix of one and two bedrooms, with some having showers and some coming with baths.
Inside, work would be undertaken, particularly on the fourth floor, to make sure the flats achieve minimum space standards.
There would be no changes to the number of car parking spaces, with eight spaces including two disabled bays accessed of St Giles Close.
As for cycling, an existing store with 10 spaces would be enlarged to accommodate 44 bikes.
You can view the plans by typing reference 201138 into Reading Borough Council’s planning portal.
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The conversion has been recommended for approval subject to a legal agreement which would involve the developer paying the council a monetary contribution once 75 per cent of the flats (33) are either sold or let.
The council has asked for this contribution because no designated affordable housing would be provided.
If an agreement is not reached, the council’s assistant director of planning would be delegated to refuse it.
The recommendation has been made by case officer Claire Ringwood ahead of a decision being made on it at the council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, September 7.
Her report notes that there is a precedent for converting serviced apartments into flats in Reading, following the approval of the conversion of ‘The Faculty’ building in London Road from 16 serviced rooms into 15 apartments.
Although the plan was refused in March last year, it was allowed on appeal in December (reference 201221).
Officer Ringwood recommended that conversion be refused out of concerns over the lack of affordable housing, an inappropriate mix of homes (10 one-bed and five two-bed flats) and an alleged failure to demonstrate an adequate parking layout.
However, in that appeal, the Government’s planning inspector David Wyborn ruled that the housing mix would be appropriate and that providing affordable housing would be ‘unviable’ for the developer.