Reading serviced apartments to be converted into flats

The apartment block is five storeys tall and located at 12-18 Crown Street close to the London Street Tesco Express.

The building is currently run as serviced apartment hotel rooms managed by a company called Flying Butler, which also has locations in London, Newbury, Maidenhead and Slough.

But that is set to change as all 44 of the apartment-hotel rooms can be converted into permanent residences.

A decision on the conversion was meant to be made in September 2022, however members of Reading Borough Council’s planning committee chose to defer a decision on the proposal.

At the time, members of the committee criticised applicants ‘Shall Do Crown Street’ for a lack of affordable housing, lack of three bedroom apartments provided and lack of provision of amenity space for future occupants.

READ THIS: Tough talk over plan to convert serviced apartments near town centre into flats 

There were hopes that Shall Do Crown Street would more adequately meet the housing need, and provide more information on what outdoor space could be provided.

Previously, the applicant suggested future occupants could walk to Forbury Gardens for their outdoor amenity.

While the developer did look into providing larger properties, ultimately it judged that necessary internal changes would be too great.

Instead, the building will be made up of 27 one-bed, 13 two-bed and four studio apartments.

Planning officers at the council were able to get the developer to pay £88,000 to be invested in affordable housing elsewhere in Reading, which amounts to £2,000 per flat.

Furthermore, Shall Do Crown Street has offered to provide a green or brown roof to provide environmental benefits.

Changes made were discussed at a recent planning meeting.

Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley) lead councillor for planning said: “With mix and viability, we didn’t get any movement on. With the amenity space, I still have slight concerns about that, walking to the Forbury Gardens.

“I’m trying to say something positive. The green roof and brown is very good, I’m pleased with that.”

He also expressed satisfaction that 18 car parking spaces would be retained, with two reserved for disabled badge holders.

READ MORE: Reading plan to convert 44 ‘apart-hotel’ rooms into homes

Ultimately, the planning committee unanimously approved the conversion at a meeting on Wednesday, May 31.

You can view the application by typing reference 201138 into the council’s planning portal.

While the committee hoped for more changes, details were raised about a separate planning appeal for ‘The Faculty’ at 23-27 London Road.

In that case, the government planning inspector overturned the council’s refusal of a conversion of 16 serviced apartments into 15 residential flats.

The inspector ruled that serviced apartment conversions into permanent residences do not easily lend themselves both to reconfiguration to provide larger three bedroom apartments and affordable housing.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre